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Selecting Information to Answer Questions: Strategic Individual Differences when Searching Texts

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Learning and Individual Differences Volume 21, Number 2, ISSN 1041-6080


The purpose of the study was to explore students' selection of information strategies in a task-oriented reading situation. 72 secondary school students read two texts and answered six questions per text, three of which were manipulated to induce a misleading matching between the wording of the question and distracting pieces of information in the text. The reading and question-answering were presented with the software "Read&Answer". We analyzed how skilled and less-skilled comprehenders were attracted to the distracting pieces of information and how this affected reading patterns and task outcomes. Skilled comprehenders scored higher and were able to discard the distracting information. In contrast, less-skilled comprehenders copied and processed this information in more detail. On-line data provided evidence for these behaviors. These results suggest that skilled comprehension facilitates the use of idea-based selection of information strategies, whereas less-skilled comprehension induces the inappropriate use of word-matching selection of information strategies. (Contains 5 tables.)


Cerdan, R., Gilabert, R. & Vidal-Abarca, E. (2011). Selecting Information to Answer Questions: Strategic Individual Differences when Searching Texts. Learning and Individual Differences, 21(2), 201-205. Retrieved January 24, 2020 from .

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