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Abstract

The purpose of this research was to determine the relative effects of the presentation style of questions inserted into text materials for students in university introductory biology. The sample was randomly assigned to seven treatment groups of approximately equal size and read a 2,354-word passage on bacterial adaptations taken from a popular university general biology textbook. Experimental treatment groups read the same passage with (1) questions placed at the beginning of selected paragraphs and with the questions presented with (2) underlining, (3) in uppercase, (4) set above the paragraph, (5) underlined and set above, and (6) set above in uppercase respectively. The criterion variable was a 20-item multiple-choice exam with five possible answers per question given once to all students immediately after they read the passage and again exactly four weeks later. Presentation strategy groups were contrasted against the reading without questions groups. Four of the six groups reading with questions at the beginning of the paragraph scored significantly higher on the test given immediately after the reading than the group reading without questions. There were no significant differences between any of the group scores for the test given four weeks after reading. Other differences in results between these strategies and implications for text writers are discussed.