Worked Reading Example

What I have done is select an article to illustrate some of the reading that you might do. I have chosen it because it is in a field I know little about and it also has a statistical component. The paper can be downloaded via the library: Cognitive intervention through virtual environments among deaf and hard-of-hearing children1. Do a search for the first few words and it should come up.

To frame this paper, assume my topic is the education of the hearing impaired and the role computer technologies might play.

Here are some of the things I asked myself and the things I did. This does not mean that you need to do all of these things but simply to model for you how you might tackle a text.

Question/observation reference in text or action notes
The authors where are they from? cover page They work in a School of Education in Israel. Check out the uni web site - School of Ed is biggest in Israel (the site is painfully slow—badly designed!!) Ah. They have a focus on special Ed. That makes sense then. The site is also incomplete - at least the English version of it.
Has the paper been cited? do a Google scholar search for the paper 6 citations and all look to be in the hearing impaired computer support space. Looks like some other papers i can follow up here and there is also a review article!!
What does the abstract say? p. 173 It's about cognitive intervention (key term), and it looks like using some kind of virtual environment (another key term). And the journal helpfully supplies a list of the key terms at the bottom of the page. I need to look some of those up. And the abstract tells me it is an account of an experimental study. It is based on research which indicates that hearing-impaired kids have a range of cognitive difficulties. So they are going to use some kind of virtual environment with hearing-impaired kids to improve structural inductive processes (no idea what that means - look it up) and flexible thinking (I have a rough idea what that means but what do they mean by the term?). So they have three groups - one does VR one does 2D non VR and the other group does nothing - check that. They reckon that practising in the 3D space did improve inductive thinking and flexible thinking.
what does the conclusion say? p. 181 Two findings - you can get improvement in inductive thinking and flexible thinking and not only that, you can bring these kids up to the same/similar level as kids who are not hearing-impaired. Wow.
Now to chip through the paper p. 174-5 Ah. Their understanding of inductive thinking - what most folk accept as that - good! Then ref to the lit about the problems the hearing-impaired have. There is also their explanation of flexible thinking and research about that and HI (hearing-impaired) kids. But the odd thing is why did they try this? Where did the idea to use VR with HI kids come from? Might be worth back tracking the earlier pubs of these folk are they HI folk or VR folk or…. ?
the experiment p. 175-6 table with details of the kids and what they did with/to them. Looks like they used some standard tests for to measure the effect of the treatments. Ah. The third group was a kind of comparison on non-HI kids.
the VR? p. 177 They used 3 3D games. Nice. and they had a 2D equivalent to give the 2nd group.
what did they find? pp. 178-80 they did an analysis of variance (back to my old stats text to remind me of what that is - or look it up. And a T-test (more homework) to check the significance of the change they got. If the stats were really critical to your analysis then you'd need to dig further. Then there is a long elaboration of their findings with connections back to previous literature about what HI kids could and could not do in terms of the two cognitive measures.
how did they explain what they found? pp. 180-1 Suggest that HI kids need a more active involvement in their learning than non-HI kids. And they suggest a kind of transfer that may have occurred between the 3D training and the test.
follow up? Google: hearing-impaired "virtual reality" The authors appear here but also some other work for special ed and VR. A couple of useful leads.

You may not need as close a reading as I have done here but just to show you a way to tackle a paper like this.

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