Committee Chair

Crawford, Elizabeth K.

Committee Member

Miller, Ted L.; Rausch, David W.; Henderson, Joel B.


Dept. of Education


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


While many researchers openly acknowledge the educational benefits of comics, the academic use of the medium has been met with much fear and apprehension from parents, teachers, and scholars, who have been reluctant to support the inclusion of such texts in the classroom. The literature on the topic of resistance to comics, however, is mostly limited to historical perspectives from the mid-20th century and is largely silent on contemporary parental perspectives. The purpose of this study was to collect data concerning parental perceptions of the academic potential of comics, parental preferences concerning how frequently the medium should be incorporated into academic lessons, and generalized parental feelings concerning the use of comics in first through twelfth grade education. Additionally, this study attempted to discover if relationships existed between the quantified parental perceptions and preferences and demographic data such as the grade and gender of the respondents’ children, the respondent’s gender, and personal readership habits of the respondent in reference to both comics and non-comics material. The instrument for this study was a survey designed to collect information about parents’ perceptions and preferences concerning the academic potential and use of comics and other information related to the study’s independent attribute variables. Results of the survey and statistical measures revealed that (A) parent gender was significantly related to parents’ perception of the comics medium to be an effective tool in helping their children achieve successful learning outcomes, (B) the readership habits of parents in regards to comics was significantly related to parental preferences concerning the frequency of comics incorporation into the curriculum, and (C) the readership habits of parents in regards to non-comics material was significantly related to both parents’ perceptions of comics as an effective learning tool and parents’ preferences concerning the frequency of comics incorporation into the curriculum. Several statistically significant relationships were discovered between the study’s core dependent variables and other independent attribute variables as well. The insight gained into these relationships may help teachers and others to better understand how these external educational stakeholders regard a medium that has experienced a varied social and educational reception throughout American history.


To my talented chair and dissertation team: I thank each of you dearly for your wisdom and guidance. You pushed me to my limit and stretched me to the point of breaking, but you supported me all the way. The highest compliment that I can give you is to say that because of you, I am more thoughtful in all I do, more prone to question what lies beneath the surface, and more apt to wield my curiosity responsibly. You have taught me these things with patience and love. I appreciate each of you deeply. To the administrative team and Board of Trustees at Boyd Buchanan School: Thank you for supporting me every step of the way and for investing yourselves in my education. I appreciate how much each of you values professional development and lifelong learning; this has been an inspiration to me in the darkest of times. You have shouldered the burden of this journey along with me in many ways and provided a light to my steps. Thank you dearly. I owe you a great debt of gratitude. To the parents of Boyd Buchanan students who participated in this study: This would have all fallen apart without your willingness to participate. By taking 10 minutes from an ordinary day and thoughtfully responding to my survey, you validated more than 5 years of academic work. It was a small favor on your part, but it has meant the world to me. Thank you so very much.


Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.




Comic books, strips, etc. in education; Graphic novels


Education; Comics; Graphic novels; Parents; Teachers; Comic books

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations




xiv, 327 leaves