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Reading literary hypertext

, University of Alberta , Canada

University of Alberta . Awarded


Hypertext has been upheld as a medium that will bring fundamental and liberating change to literary reading and to literary education. Yet in spite of extensive discussion among theorists about the ways in which the medium may be changing author and reader roles, there exist few empirical examinations of how literary reading processes may be modified in the hypertext environment. This dissertation presents a review of theoretical and empirical research on hypertext and reports the results of two studies with 100 readers of stories that were presented on computer in either linear or simulated networked hypertext form. Reading times, link choices, and self-recorded verbal commentary were collected from all participants, quantitative and qualitative methodologies were employed in data analysis. Several significant differences between the two groups of readers were observed that suggest the hypertext presentation tended to promote a story-driven form of reading and to discourage personal involvement with the narrative. The empirical component of this study is framed by a discussion of the pedagogical implications for hypertext in present-day secondary English classrooms.


Dobson, T.M. Reading literary hypertext. Ph.D. thesis, University of Alberta. Retrieved December 9, 2022 from .

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