Locating information within extended hypermedia
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New literacies researchers have identified a core set of strategies for locating information, one of which is “reading a Web page to locate information that might be present there” (Leu et al. in: Rush, Eakle, Berger (eds) Secondary school reading and writing: What research reveals for classroom practices, 2007, p. 46). Do middle-school, high school, and undergraduate students (N = 51) differ in effectiveness at locating information within extended hypermedia? Students completed a pretest measure of knowledge about the circulatory system. They then gave verbal answers to 10 researcher-developed questions about the circulatory system, which they answered by searching the environment and thinking aloud about the task. Consistent with large-scale national and international studies, students were only moderately successful at locating information. Successfully locating information was significantly associated with having more prior knowledge, efficient searching, and giving better quality answers to the researcher-posed questions. It was also associated with specific strategies only at the level of individual questions. That is, the “ideal” strategy depended on the question and how the answer was phrased in the text. Implications of the results for teaching students how to search in hypermedia are offered.
KeywordsSearch Hypermedia Science Knowledge
This research was partially supported by funding from an AERA/Spencer Pre-Dissertation Fellowship to Jennifer Cromley and funding from the National Science Foundation (REC#0133346) and the University of Maryland’s College of Education and School of Graduate Studies awarded to Roger Azevedo. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2004). We would like to thank Dan Moos for his helpful comments. The authors would like to thank Danielle Fried for assistance with coding video data, Neil Hoffman for assistance with coding answers to the search questions, and the students, their parents, and schools for their participation in the study.
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