Impact of diagrams on recalling sequential elements in expository texts

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The main purpose of this study was to examine the impact of abstract diagrams on the recall of sequential relations in an expository text. Two hundred and fifty-six undergraduate students of Everyman's University, the Open University of Israel, were requested to read a text of about 4,000 words, dealing with the application of the general communication model to the marketing process. The sequence of the elements in the models was crucial to their understanding. The text appeared in four versions, in which the verbal and schematic representations were manipulated in order to identify the best strategy for assisting the recall of sequential elements in the text. The main results of the study suggest that: a diagram assists significantly the recall of sequential relations in a text that is new to the learner, multi-thematic and a particular order of variables is essential to the comprehension of the main ideas; a diagram decreases significantly the rate of order mistakes and the listing of wrong elements in the active recollection process; a diagram has a significant effect on clarifying the application of one model to another; an explained diagram is more effective than an unexplained one in illuminating subtle relations in a text.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-139
Number of pages19
JournalReading Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988


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