COMPREHENSION OF SCIENTIFIC TEXTS DURING READING: THE EFFECTS OF PRIOR KNOWLEDGE AND TEXT STRUCTURE

Open Access
Author:
Lin, Yu-Chu
Graduate Program:
Educational Psychology
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
November 17, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Bonnie J Meyer, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • refutation
  • reading comprehension
  • misconception
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of prior knowledge and text structure on reading comprehension of scientific texts as a replication and an extension of the second experiment in the study by Kendeou and van den Broek (2007). The differences in how undergraduate students with and without misconceptions about Newtonian concepts comprehended texts with comparison, refutation, or non-refutation text structures were examined and measured by reading times of targeted sentences during reading and recall and knowledge test after reading. The results indicated that reading times of the law statement for one of the topics, Newton’s first law of motion, were affected by prior knowledge. Students with misconceptions read the first law statement slower than students without misconceptions. Reading time results were mixed compared to past research, and possible explanations were discussed. Reading efficiency and performance on the knowledge test were a function of readers’ prior knowledge. Students without misconceptions performed better than those with misconceptions. Students with misconceptions, however, improved more on the knowledge test for questions about the specific law that they read about than students without misconceptions who read the same information.