Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The purpose of the study was to examine differences in comprehension scores and recall of expository text by developmental college readers following manipulation of traditional and technological factors affecting use of mobilized prior knowledge. This research differed from previous research in three ways. First, it endeavored to determine if a visible link between old and new knowledge would enhance comprehension and recall. Second, it compared traditional (verbal statements) and technological (computer-mediated) methods of linking prior knowledge and new information. Third, it featured the use of individual brainstorming as a means of mobilizing schemata. The literature review focused on theory and research concerning schema theory and expository text comprehension in developmental college readers. Specifically, three relevant fields of research were reviewed: (a) schema theory and research, (b) methods of interfacing old and new knowledge, and (c) developmental college readers. A pilot study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the planned instruments, materials, computer program, and procedures. For the research study, subjects consisted of developmental college readers selected on the basis of prior knowledge pretest scores. A pretest-posttest control group design was utilized in the research study. Three treatment groups and one control group were used with treatments randomly assigned to groups. Experimental treatments featured combinations of computer-mediated (highlighted) text and/or verbal statements in conjunction with brainstorming. Two posttest measures, a free recall instrument and a multiple-choice test, were administered. Planned comparisons following an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) were used to test the hypotheses. The prior knowledge pretest score was the covariate. No statistically significant differences existed in comprehension scores and recall following manipulation of traditional and technological factors affecting use of mobilized prior knowledge. Problems in the creation of instruments, choice of materials, and development of the computer program may have contributed to the lack of significant findings. These problems could be solved through modifications in methodology. Additional research with revised materials, instruments, and procedures would be required to determine if differences in comprehension could be achieved through manipulation of traditional and technological factors affecting the use of mobilized knowledge.