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Title:An Evaluation of Visual Displays in Basal Readers and Social Studies Textbooks
Author(s):Hunter, Barbara Mayhall
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pearson, P. David
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Elementary
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:Well-designed textbooks are vital for an effective elementary curriculum. Research on textbook design has focused on prose and nonprint media such as artwork and photography, but there are few investigations on the more abstract data displays, or visual displays. This study presents a quantitative and a qualitative evaluation of visual displays in elementary basal readers and social studies textbooks. The four research questions were: (1) How do visual displays that are found in basal reading series differ as a function of publisher, grade level, type of display, location of display, and instructional questioning? (2) How do visual displays found in basal reading series compare with those found in social studies series? (3) What is the nature of the relationship of the text with the visual display within the social studies and basal reading series? (4) How effective are the visual displays in social studies and basal reading series in communicating information?
In Study 1, distributions of visual displays in six major basal reading series were compared. In Study 2, two of the publishers' basal reading and social studies series were examined for the relationship of the prose to the visual displays in terms of (a) ratio of nonprint media to prose; (b) function of the visual displays; and (c) the clarity of the textual references to the displays. In Study 3, a questionnaire, answered by university artists and artists of publishing companies evaluated the displays. Dependent measures were the scale scores for informativeness, legibility, accuracy, appropriateness, etc.
Results revealed (a) eratic patterns of visual display inclusion and instruction in the textbooks; (b) most displays in social studies function as embellishments; (c) most displays were referenced briefly or not at all by the text; and (d) content area, professional background of the judge, and type of display played a significant role in determining the effectiveness of visual displays. Conclusions were that basal readers may not be preparing students to deal with visual displays in social studies textbooks. Recommendations to publishers included the provision of more visual displays of every type in the basal readers with instructional questions requiring higher-level thinking. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)
Issue Date:1988
Description:236 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8823151
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1988

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