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Comic books possessing the features of humour, narrative, and visual representation are deemed as a potential medium for science communication; however, empirical studies exploring the effects of comics are scarce. The purposes of this study were to examine and compare the impacts of a comic book and a text booklet on conveying the concepts of nanotechnology and to investigate public perceptions of using comics as a tool for science communication. A mixed-methods quasi-experimental design was used to explore these central issues. Three instruments were adopted to assess public knowledge of nanotechnology, public attitudes towards nanotechnology, and public emotional perceptions of learning science. Furthermore, 7 short-answer questions accompanying the posttest as well as interviews were administered to enrich the instrument results. The proportional stratified sampling method was used to recruit more than 300 adults as a pool of participants. Finally, the responses of 194 participants who completed the instruments were analysed. The results indicated that the comic book significantly promoted laypeople's knowledge of and attitudes towards nanotechnology as did the text booklet. It is noted that the comic book increased the participants' interest in and enjoyment of learning, while the text booklet decreased their interest and enjoyment. More comic readers were interested in learning nanotechnology via comics than text readers were interested in learning via text. Although there was no significant difference between the 2 media in the aspects of knowledge and attitude, the results of emotional perceptions imply that science comics have the potential to develop laypeople's ongoing interest and enjoyment for learning science by reading comics.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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