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Reading authentic text in the hypermedia environment: The effects of question glosses on comprehension processes of intermediate learners of German as aforeign language

, University of Florida, United States

University of Florida . Awarded


This study examined to what extent and how question glosses in the hypermedia environment enabled intermediate learners of German as a foreign language to go beyond the surface and textbase level and construct a situation model of a text based on appropriate cultural background knowledge. Question glosses are interspersed questions that function to prompt the reader to either activate pre-existing knowledge or to become aware of a cultural difference or knowledge gap and avoid misreading a text. A misreading is defined as an instance when the reader constructs a mental model that contradicts explicitly stated information as well as the "unseen" in a text. Eight participants read eight texts over a period of eight weeks. Data collection combined immediate recall and think-aloud protocols, pre- and post-study questionnaires, as well as exit interviews after each reading. Two groups of readers alternated between reading texts with and without question glosses, while holding all other variables constant: access to external and internal dictionaries, and multimedia hyperlinks (geographical, historical, cultural information).

Recall protocols yielded two different types of comprehension scores. The propositional scores established how efficiently readers recognized words and pieces of information at the surface level of a text. It was found that question glosses improved the recall of propositions for some readers who lacked lower-level processing skills, but made no difference for readers who demonstrated a higher degree of automaticity in lower-level processing. In contrast, the weighted idea unit analysis indicates to what extent participants constructed coherent textbase models of a text. Five participants recalled more main and supporting ideas when reading a text with than without question glosses. By combining the results of the quantitative analysis of the recall and think-aloud protocols, a connection between the percentage of idea units and the number of look-ups and causal inferences emerged. Question glosses usually triggered more look-ups, and more look-ups resulted in higher idea unit scores and a higher number of causal inferences. Readers who struggled with bottom-up processing generated more causal inferences and fewer misreadings than the more fluent readers. Furthermore, the qualitative analysis of the think-aloud protocols revealed that over time question glosses provided assistance and training for most readers with regard to higher-level processing skills.


Overstreet Christina, N. Reading authentic text in the hypermedia environment: The effects of question glosses on comprehension processes of intermediate learners of German as aforeign language. Ph.D. thesis, University of Florida. Retrieved April 10, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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