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IL: University of Illinois, Center for the Study of Reading. Strategies for Controlling Hypothesis Formation in Reading

By Bertram Bruce and Andee Rubin


HEW-NIE-C-400-76-0116. Reading is a process of forming and evaluating hypotheses to account for the data in a text. Because of its complexity, the task of reading requires strategies for controlling the proliferation of hypotheses. Four of these strategies, (a) jumping to conclusions, (b) maintaining inertia, (c) relying on background knowledge, and (d) working backwards from the goal, are generally effective, but they occasionally create reading problems, rather than alleviating them. Examples from protocols of readers reading a reading test passage are presented. These examples show both the effective use of the strategies and some problems that may arise from their use. Imagine being confronted with the following task: From a limited set of data you are to build an exceedingly complex theory. Every step of the way you will encounter ambiguities. Partial theories will be necessary, but there is no way to be sure until the end that any partial theory can be incorporated into the final theory. Almost all of the possible theories you might consider are wrong, and yet, many of them will have ample supporting evidence. You will be given the data only bits at a time; thus, you may well be sent down what linguists call a "garden path " of misleading theories. Yo

Year: 1981
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