Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Lienne Medford

Committee Member

Dr. David Barrett

Committee Member

Dr. Beatrice Bailey

Committee Member

Dr. Sean Williams


There have been few empirical studies investigating the uses of graphic novels in education, fewer still in English Language Arts (ELA). As a result, there remain misconceptions about possible uses and potential benefits of graphic texts in ELA classrooms. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of graphic novels on the reading comprehension of high school students in English classrooms. The study specifically examined the potential benefits and effects of a graphic adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe short story, 'The Cask of Amontillado.' This study explored the effects of the graphic adaptation in two ways: one, as a replacement for the traditional classroom text; and two, as a supplement to the traditional text. The research design for the study was a quantitative, factorial Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). There were three independent variables, each with multiple levels. First, method of instruction had three levels: Control, Experimental Group 1 (E1), and Experimental Group 2 (E2). Second, Grade Level had four levels: ninth-grade, tenth-grade, eleventh-grade, and twelfth-grade. Third, Gender had two levels: male and female. The dependent variable of interest was students' scores on the reading comprehension test. At the conclusion of the primary analysis, two supplemental analyses were conducted. First, post-interviews were conducted with both students and teachers to elicit the perceptions of interacting with and using the graphic texts. Second, a post hoc item analysis was conducted on the reading comprehension test to calculate a coefficient alpha and to assess the quality of the test instrument. Findings from the study indicated significant main effects of all three independent variables. First, method of instruction had a significant main effect. The students in both experimental groups scored significantly higher on the test than their peers in the control group. Second, grade level had a significant main effect. Students in tenth-, eleventh-, and twelfth-grades scored significantly higher than students in ninth-grade. Students in twelfth-grade also scored significantly higher than students in tenth-grade. Third, gender had a significant main effect; females scored significantly higher than their male schoolmates. Findings from the supplemental analyses are shared as well, the limitations of the study are discussed and implications for future research shared.

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