Extending the Sentence Verification Technique to Tables and Node-Link Diagrams
In addition to prose, situation reports used by various organizations often present supporting information in “visual” formats that pose unique challenges for assessing readers’ comprehension. Two of the more common information categories seen in these reports are text-based tables and node-link diagrams. To better understand what readers attend to in these formats, we adapted a proven method for assessing prose comprehension, known as the Sentence Verification Technique (SVT), to these ancillary materials and conducted an exploratory reading study with format, aspects of the SVT, and contextual information as independent variables. Except for tables, error rates were comparatively uniform. Assessments of prose were significantly faster than assessments of diagrammatic information, which in turn were significantly faster than table assessments. The latter also took longer when posed without contextual details. We conclude that the SVT can be successfully adapted for information in ancillary formats and discuss further research issues for this endeavor.
KeywordsReading comprehension Sentence Verification Technique (SVT) Text tables Node-link diagrams Quantitative evaluation
Wende Frost contributed to early portions of this work. This research was supported by the Naval Research Laboratory Base Program.
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