A comparison of the use of strategies in reading electronic and printed text by Chinese adult ESL learners

Wang, Ching-Hui
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This study investigates whether Chinese adult ESL learners use the same reading strategies online as they do in traditional print. Three Chinese-speaking graduate students at Iowa State University participated in this study. To best elicit information regarding subjects' thought processes and their use of reading strategies, several methods were used, including think-aloud protocols, Morae software, and a follow-up interview. During the think-aloud process, subjects were assigned two reading tasks. One process involved reading in traditional print, and in the other process, participants read in hypertext. Each text format consisted of three passages. Each subject had the option of choosing two passages in either text. To ensure that the data was interpreted accurately, each oral report was conducted in two forms: concurrent and retrospective. The entire process was recorded using Morae software, which allowed the investigator to review subjects' behaviors easily and thus further clarify questions regarding behaviors observed that were not fully understood during the interview. The results suggest that there is little variation in the use of strategies between the two contexts. Only the strategy of inferencing was found to be more closely related to hypertext. Moreover, evidence suggests that variation in the use of strategies within this study was influenced more by learner-dependent factors rather than the media of the text.

English, Teaching English as a second language, Applied linguistics (Literacy in English as a second language), Literacy in English as a second language