As promised, I am passing on the results of my survey that many of you participated in via Survey Monkey a few weeks ago. I did not get nearly as many responses as I had hoped for. It was the week before finals and a lot of people here must have been too busy to to get to it before it expired. Thus, far from conclusive, it satisfied the assignment, and as with all research, it just leads to new questions. Herewith, the executive overview. The whole idea was to test comic scholar Scott McCloud’s assertion from Understanding Comics, that readers have more difficulty “filling-in” the gutter (the gap) between panels (the frames) when the artwork is more detailed. He also says that people identify more easily with a cartoon figure than a realistic figure. I found this somewhat hard to swallow, so I set out to test it. As you know there were two, very short stories; one in cartoon fashion and one using CG renderings. Essentially, they were intended to tell a similar story.
The first question asked participants to tell what happened in each story. There were various responses for each, but for story 2, the realistic one, people were able to read much more detail into the character and his predicament. In question 2, participants were split equally on which story seemed more “real”. For question 3, story 2 was clearly the winner in conveying more emotion. It was also the preferred story to “continue reading” for question 4, though there were a fair number who would like to have read both. If you’re into the nitty-gritty details on every question you can download my project summary report via this link.
While I didn’t put Scott McCloud on notice with conclusive research, I got enough of a response to at least put his theory in the “subjective” category. Thanks to all who participated.