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Title:The roles of prior topic knowledge and text features in how readers map ideas from text
Author(s):Armstrong, James Owen, Jr.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Walker, Jerry L.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Teacher Training
Education, Reading
Abstract:The primary purpose of the study was to understand the relationships among the reader's prior topic knowledge, text features, and task conditions as readers constructed idea maps, which are verbal and spatial representations of text. The secondary purpose was to identify mapping strategies and their relationship to the cognitive style of the readers. The study was guided by constructivist theory and research.
Eight preservice elementary teachers who were enrolled in a university's teacher certification program were instructed in idea mapping. Next, students completed a topic knowledge assessment, and then read and mapped an elementary science text lesson on the same topic. During two independent mapping sessions, students carried out think aloud procedures to report their thoughts as they worked. A hybrid of quantitative and qualitative methods was developed to analyze the contents of the 16 idea maps and the on-line processes of map construction.
The quantitative analyses revealed that about 20% of the conceptual relationships in the idea maps were faulty in terms of text information. Qualitative analysis of the on-line construction of faulty map content revealed complex relationships among knowledge, text, task conditions, and idea maps. Additional analysis revealed that the field dependent-independent dimension of cognitive style was associated with differential use of mapping strategies.
The major findings support other studies, which found that in some cases, readers' prior misconceptions about phenomena overrode incompatible scientific explanations that occurred in text; in other cases, however, readers' faulty knowledge did not persist when repeatedly confronted by contradictory text information. Of methodological significance, a hybrid of quantitative and qualitative methods was a powerful tool for understanding how prior topic knowledge affects the on-line construction of meaning from text. An implication for teacher preparation is that learning to map text for instructional use is a complex task that involves a person's knowledge of the text content domain, text structure, and map syntax.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Armstrong, James Owen, Jr
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9236393
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9236393

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