ERIC Number: EJ1071534
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
Comprehension of Short Stories: Effects of Task Instructions on Literary Interpretation
McCarthy, Kathryn S.; Goldman, Susan R.
Discourse Processes: A multidisciplinary journal, v52 n7 p585-608 2015
An important purpose of reading literature is to move beyond the literal text to construct an interpretation of what the text conveys about the human condition and nature of the world. In two experiments, college students with no prior training in literary analysis read a short story and responded to one of four task instructions (plot, ambiguous, argument, theme) designed to bias either an interpretive or literal stance toward the text. Results indicated that the argument and theme instructions were more likely to lead to essays with more interpretive inferences than plot and ambiguous instructions. Results indicate that stance affected the kinds of inferences that were generated during reading. Implications for expanding current models of text comprehension are discussed.
Descriptors: Literary Genres, Story Reading, College Students, Literary Criticism, Critical Reading, Reading Instruction, Reading Comprehension, Interpretive Skills, Introductory Courses, Psychology, Essays, Inferences, Reader Text Relationship, Educational Experiments, Statistical Analysis, Questionnaires
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305F100007