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IES Grant

Title: Developing a Deeper Understanding of the Cognitive Processes that Drive Multiple Text Comprehension
Center: NCER Year: 2018
Principal Investigator: McNamara, Danielle Awardee: Arizona State University
Program: Cognition and Student Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (07/01/2018 - 06/30/2022) Award Amount: $1,399,466
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305A180144
Description:

Co-Principal Investigators: Allen, Laura; Magliano, Joseph; McCarthy, Katie

Purpose: There is increased interest in studentsí processing of multiple documents (MD), in part due to the explosion of information and texts readily available in our modern, technology-driven society. Having a better understanding of the processes involved in this complex task and the strategies that lead to improvements in MD comprehension is critical for developing effective interventions and instructional approaches. The purpose of this project is to explore the benefits of self-explanation (i.e., explaining a text to oneís self) in combination with comprehension strategy training (e.g., training on comprehension monitoring, paraphrasing, elaboration, logic and common sense, prediction, and bridging) for MD comprehension skills, and to identify important moderators, such as individual differences in studentsí prior knowledge, reading, and writing skill.

Project Activities: In Year 1, the research team will explore the extent to which self-explanation and source evaluation strategies (e.g., sourcing, contextualization, and corroboration) are used to support intratextual (within text) and intertextual (between text) inferences in the context of MD comprehension tasks. In Years 2-4, the research team will compare the effects of comprehension strategy training, source training, and no strategy training (control) on MD comprehension. The research team will also explore the extent to which studentsí individual differences in prior knowledge, reading skills, and writing skills act as moderators.

Products: Researchers will produce preliminary evidence of the potential benefits of strategy training for MD comprehension. In addition, they will produce peer-reviewed publications in research journals, present their findings at research conferences, summarize key findings through their project website, produce blog posts for the general public (e.g., through Psychology Today), and communicate their findings through social media platforms.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will take place in research laboratory environments at Arizona State University, Mississippi State University, and Northern Illinois University, and in high schools in urban and suburban areas of Illinois and Mississippi.

Sample: During the first two years of the study, researchers will include approximately 400 high school students from the local community. In Years 3 and 4, researchers will work with 400-500 high school students from approximately 20 classrooms.

Malleable Factors: This project will focus on malleable factors of instruction, including comprehension strategy training combined with self-explanation and source evaluation, to support MD comprehension, as well as how individual differences moderate their effects.

Research Design and Methods: In Year 1, the research team will explore the extent to which self-explanation and source evaluation strategies are used to support intratextual (within text) and intertextual (between text) inferences in the context of MD comprehension tasks. Researchers will randomly assign students to one of three verbal protocol conditions: think-aloud, self-explain, or evaluate sources. In this study, students in all conditions will generate verbal protocols while they read at pre-determined times. In Year 2, the research team will randomly assign students to one of three conditions: comprehension strategy training, source training, or no strategy training. Studies conducted in Years 1 and 2 will take place in research laboratory environments. In Years 3 and 4, the research team will randomly assign students to one of three conditions: comprehension strategy training, source training, or no strategy training.

For all studies, students will participate in four sessions. In the first session, the research team will collect demographic data and will administer the first MD task, which will vary by condition. In the second session, the research team will administer another MD task, which will also vary by condition. In the third and fourth sessions, the research team will administer assessments to measure studentsí prior knowledge, reading skills, and writing skills. Researchers will administer all tasks on a computer and will collect eye tracking data during the laboratory studies.

Control Condition: All three studies involve a manipulation of whether students are in conditions that emphasize self-explanation, source evaluation, or no strategies. In the no strategies condition, which is intended as the control condition, students will complete an unrelated task.

Key Measures: Key measures include verbal protocols to capture studentsí inference processes; researcher-developed integrative essay responses and open-ended comprehension questions to measure MD comprehension; eye-tracking (Studies 1 and 2) and telemetry data (i.e., system log data) to capture studentsí MD comprehension processes; the Domain Prior Knowledge Test; the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test; a standard SAT-style independent persuasive writing essay to assess writing ability; and an adapted version of the Online Motivation Questionnaire.

Data Analytic Strategy: The research team will use analysis of covariance and multilevel modeling to answer key research questions across their studies.

Related IES Projects:
iSTART: Interactive Strategy Trainer for Active Reading and Thinking: (R305G040046)
The Writing Pal: An Intelligent Tutoring System that Provides Interactive Writing Strategy Training (R305A080589)
Exploration of Automated Writing Strategy Instruction for Adolescent Writings Using The Writing Pal (R305A120707)
Exploring the Educational Game Landscape through Focused Studies and Ecological Interventions (R305A130124)
Exploring the onPAR Model in Developmental Literacy Education (R305A150193)
Reading for Understanding Across Grades 6 through 12: Evidence-Based Argumentation for Disciplinary Learning (R305F100007)

Project Website: http://www.soletlab.com


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