The purpose of this mixed methods study was to investigate how relevance instructions influence readers' personal reading intentions, reading goals, text processing, and memory for text. Undergraduates (n=52) were randomly assigned to one of three pre-reading relevance instruction conditions that asked them to read from a perspective or to read for understanding. Experimental results showed that information was read slower and remembered better when it was relevant. However, some readers spent more time reading irrelevant information, whereas others spent less time reading this information. Post-reading interviews were analyzed to explain these reading time differences. The interview data indicated that relevance instructions influenced readers' goals and the strategies they used to meet those goals. The data sets were complementary: the quantitative data indicated differences in reading time and recall, and the qualitative data allowed us to explain why these differences occurred. These data revealed three distinct reader profiles within and across conditions, and demonstrate how relevance instructions affect reader goals, processing, and comprehension.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology