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ERIC Number: EJ1189581
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Sep
Pages: 30
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0013-5984
What Makes a Diagram Easy or Hard? The Impact of Diagram Design on Fourth-Grade Students' Comprehension of Science Texts
Coleman, Julianne M.; McTigue, Erin M.; Dantzler, John A.
Elementary School Journal, v119 n1 p122-151 Sep 2018
This experimental study examined how the presence of visual diagrams in 2 science texts affected the independent reading comprehension of 213 fourth-grade students in the southeastern United States. In addition, the relative impact of 3 diagram designs and layout (representational, interpretational, or integrated) was compared with a control. Prior knowledge was measured and statistically controlled for each text. Comprehension measures were a term-selection posttest and a reading comprehension posttest. Overall, on both texts, visual diagrams provide minimal or no added value to students' comprehension above the text-only conditions. Findings also indicated that the integrated diagram may create a condition of cognitive overload for some students. Implications for instructional material design are discussed.
University of Chicago Press. Journals Division, P.O. Box 37005, Chicago, IL 60637. Tel: 877-705-1878; Tel: 773-753-3347; Fax: 877-705-1879; Fax: 773-753-0811; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A