Journal Club: The potential of educational comics as a health information medium

Meeting date: April 25, 2017

Presenter: Lauren Seal

Citation: McNicol,S. (2017). The potential of educational comics as a health information medium. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 34(1), 20-31.

Article abstract:
OBJECTIVES – To investigate ways in which educational comics might provide support in dealing with feelings and attitudes towards health conditions, as well as improving understanding of factual information and to identify potential weakness of comics as a medium for health information.

METHODS – Semi-structured interviewees with eleven university students who either had a mental or physical health condition themselves or had a family member with a health condition.

RESULTS – The result highlighted the potential value of comics as a format for health information. In addition to conveying factual informationcomics offer opportunities for self-awareness, reassurance, empathy, companionship and a means to explore the impact of illness on family relationships. However, there are notable barriers to the greater use of comics to provide health information, namely, a lack of awareness of, and easy access to, educational comics, along with the perception that comics are exclusively light-hearted and for children.

CONCLUSIONS – Currently, the full potential of comics in health settings is not being realised. Health information professionals may be in a position to address this issue through identifying, cataloguing, indexing and promoting comics as a legitimate format for health information.

Reason for selection: I’m personally interested in the variety of ways health information can be presented and transferred to patients.  I had no idea there were comics focused on health education and was interested in learning more about them.