Withtwo fixed factors, presence of questions and structured text, we tested for an interactionbetween these factors on the comprehension measure for each of the passages. There was asignificant interaction for the second passage, p= .001; for the firstpassage, an interaction did not occur.
Because there was an interaction forthe second passage, a one-way ANOVA with pair-wise comparisons was conducted todetermine the differences between the four groups. Simple effects indicated thatwhen strategy questions were inserted within well-structured text that presentedcause/effect at the paragraph level, the proportion of correctstatements (full cause/effect statements with an appropriate structural clueword) wassignificantly higher than when the passages were well-structured only (p< .001), containedISQs only (p < .001), or provided neither well-structured text or ISQs(p< .001). At the sentence level of cause/effectcomplexity, again when ISQs were presented within well-structured text, theproportion of correct statements (full cause/effect statementswith an appropriate structural clue word) was significantly higher than when thepassages were well-structured only (p = .
01), contained ISQs only (p= .02), or provided eitherwell-structured text or ISQs (p < .001). Discussion andConclusion The purpose of this research was toexplore how ISQs and structured text influence Iranian EFL pre-intermediate'comprehension of expository general studies passages of different levels ofcause/effect complexity. We investigated whether participants would comprehendthe passages better when strategy questions were inserted within the text thanwhen the strategy questions were not present. We also investigated whether participantswould comprehend the passages better when the text was well-structured to moreclearly represent the cause/effect text structure than when it was in itsless-structured. The question of how ISQs and well-structured text, incombination, influence comprehension was examined. The literature suggests thatboth ISQs (E.
Kintsch, 2005) and well-structured texts (Williams, 2004) improvecomprehension. Results from study indicated that when cause/effect waspresented at the sentence level, EFL learners performed best when both ISQs andwell-structured were present; however, they also performed better when justISQs were present or when the text was well-structured only than when neitherfactor was present. Alternatively, when cause effect was presented at theparagraph level, EFL learners performed best when both ISQs and well-structuredwere present; however, their performance was similar when just ISQs werepresent or when the text was well-structured only to their performance whenneither factor was present.
There was an interaction effect of ISQs andstructured text when cause/effect was presented at the paragraph level, but notwhen cause/effect was presented at the sentence level. Since researchhas shown that well-structured expository text improves comprehension(Williams et al., 2004), and that inserted questions improve comprehension(Kintsch, 2005), this research expected to find that both factors would beindependently effective. This was the case when the cause/effect structure was presentedat the sentence level and at the paragraph level. This research also expectedto find thatin combination the two factors together would be even more effective thaneither factoralone.
Limitation andstructural implication of the study In this research, only one text structure (cause/effect),out of the five text structures (description, sequence, compare/contrast,problem/solution, and cause/effect) identified by Meyer (1985) as representativeof expository text, was investigated. The moderating effect that readingability may have on the effectiveness of ISQs, structured text, andcause/effect complexity is another factor that should be investigated in futurestudies. Finally, the participants sample was limited. All of the participantswere from pre-intermediate within two language institutions in Dezful. It cannotbe stated with assurance that the sample is representative of pre-intermediatelearners from other institutions or other locations.
The results of this research indicate that strategyquestions inserted within well-structured text have a positive impact onelementary participants’ comprehension of expository materials that presentvarying levels of text structure complexity. Too often, studentsare faced with texts that are poorly structured. The writing is not organizedin a discernibleway, does not contain signals that indicate specific informational structures, and failsto follow a structure that is recognizable to the reader (Chambliss, 1994). Providingstudents with a well-structured text that includes structural signals, such as ISQs,presents them with an established informational structure that they can follow.Inserting strategy questions within a well-structured text alerts students toan understandingof how a text is structured. Accompanied with explicit instruction in how to use thisknowledge to recognize the important information in the text, there is a potentialfor improving student comprehension. That a student might not be able to expand hisor her knowledge of the world because s/he does not have the necessary tools tocomprehend informational texts is unthinkable.
We have to come up with ways toput unlimitedinformation in the hands of our kids in a way that keeps them asking for more.