An investigation into the effect and patterns of usage of a computer-mediated text in reading comprehension in French
Susan Brown Hayden, The Pennsylvania State University, United States
The Pennsylvania State University . Awarded
The aims of this study are twofold: to investigate reading comprehension as affected by helps and glosses, where texts are presented in print or via a computer software program, and to examine the behaviors of subjects using such a computer-mediated text. 114 subjects in their third semester of French used a software program designed to provide vocabulary, cultural, and grammatical information for an excerpt from the African Francophone work Une Vie de Boy. Subjects were randomly divided into one of three conditions: print presentation with or without helps, computer presentation with or without helps, and print reading following by computer presentation with or without helps. Comprehension measures were recall protocols and multiple choice questions. In addition, descriptive data on the processes and behaviors of the subjects were collected in two ways. First, a program running concurrently with the computer-mediated text collected a "tracker log" for each subject, listing time spent, words looked up, and type of help selected. Second, after completion of the assessment measures, an exit interview of eight questions was given. Data from a group of fourth year subjects using the computer software program was also collected for comparison.
There was a significant main effect for helps but not for mode of presentation, with no interaction. That is, in this fixed effect study, there was not a significant difference in comprehension whether the helps were presented in print or by computer. Triangulation of the descriptive data indicated no correlation between the number of helps selected and the number of correct idea units. Subjects with lower levels of target language experience selected the English definitions helps almost exclusively. Among matters for further research are the mindfulness of readers, the number of helps for a text, and the amount of access to English helps.
Hayden, S.B. An investigation into the effect and patterns of usage of a computer-mediated text in reading comprehension in French. Ph.D. thesis, The Pennsylvania State University.
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