Stephen R. O'Sullivan, "The Comic Book as Research Tool: Creative Visual Research for the Social Sciences" (de Gruyter, 2023)


The Comic Book as Research Tool: Creative Visual Research for the Social Sciences (de Gruyter, 2023) contributes to a growing body of work celebrating the visual methods and tools that aid knowledge transfer and welcome new audiences to social science research. Visual research methodological milestones highlight a trajectory towards the adoption of more creative and artistic media. As such, the book is dedicated to exploring the creative potential of the comic book medium, and how it can assist the production and communication of scientific knowledge. The cultural blueprint of the comic book is examined, and the unique structure and grammar of the form deconstructed and adapted for research support. Along with two illustrated research comics, Toxic Play and 10 Business Days, the book offers readers numerous comic-based illustration activities and creative visual exercises to support data generation, foster conversational knowledge exchanges, facilitate inference, analysis, and interpretation, while nurturing the necessary skills to illustrate and create research comics. The book engages a diverse audience and is an illuminating read for visual novices, experts, and all in-betweeners.

Dr. Stephen O’Sullivan is lecturer in marketing and consumer culture at University College Cork, Cork University Business School. His research is primarily situated in the consumer culture theory dimensions of marketplace cultures and consumer identity projects. Current research involves an investigation of contemporary play, particularly that which is harmful in nature. Stephen is an advocate for the greater application of creative media in social science. His published works can be found in the Marketing Theory, Psychology & Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management, Consumption Markets & Culture, Advances in Consumer Research, and Journal of Customer Behavior. Contributes research films to the Indie Cork Film Festival.

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Elizabeth Woock

Elizabeth Allyn Woock an assistant professor in the Department of English and American Studies at Palacky University in the Czech Republic with an interdisciplinary background in history and popular literature. Her specialization falls within the study of comic books and graphic novels.

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