Recommendations for Use of SQ3R in Introductory Psychology Textbooks
Feldt, Ronald C., Hensley, Robert, Education
Robinson (1970) developed the SQ3R study strategy to improve learning by incorporating higher-level study skills. SQ3R entails five steps: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review. The first step involves surveying chapter headings and subheadings to identify chapter content. This step helps students to achieve a sense of the organization of the chapter and to activate prior knowledge to facilitate comprehension. The second step involves asking questions based on headings and subheadings. The reader transforms headings into questions to stimulate curiosity and to guide reading. The third step involves reading the text to answer the questions. The fourth step involves answering each question by looking away from the text and attempting to recall the answer. If the reader cannot answer the question, he or she reviews the text before answering the question. In the fifth step, the reader inspects headings and then attempts to recall the questions and answers.
Reviewers of empirical research on SQ3R's effectiveness reported conclusions that would raise doubt about SQ3R's viability as a learning strategy. Anderson and Armbruster (1982) argued that use of SQ3R is based on the following assumptions:
(a) "authors choose headings that capture important information or main ideas of the content" (p. 238)
(b) "criterion test questions will test information cued by the author's headings" (p. 238)
(c) "students are able to transform headings into questions that capture main ideas" (p. 238).
Cook and Mayer (1983) argued that SQ3R limits encoding to searching for and memorizing relevant information. In order to achieve thorough, meaningful learning from text, others recommend that students connect ideas within the text and connect textual ideas with personal knowledge (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001; Cook & Mayer; Mayer, 1987). Recent reviewers of study-strategy research concluded that SQ3R is not appropriate for all students and that the amount of instruction should vary inversely with reading ability (Caverly & Orlando, 1991; Caverly, Orlando, & Mullen, 2000).
Use of SQ3R assumes that students have requisite skills (Huber, 2004), which include selecting main ideas, identifying the structure of text, asking questions, etc. Knowledge of text structure may guide generation of appropriate questions to improve comprehension of science texts (Feldt, Feldt, & Kilburg, 2002). In addition, knowledge of key elements of empirical research articles may guide question generation (Feldt & Moore, 1999). Given the concerns about SQ3R, one major strength of any question-generation strategy may depend on the extent to which instruction for asking questions is explicit (Wong, 1985).
Several introductory psychology textbooks feature SQ3R as a text-learning strategy. We examined these textbooks to determine whether authors provide descriptions of SQ3R application that are consistent with those found in the SQ3R literature. These included modeling of question generation by providing good examples of questions; acknowledging the importance of background information for adequate use of SQ3R; and recognizing that effective use of SQ3R may depend on additional training and practice, especially for students with limited comprehension skills. We emphasized the extent to which descriptions provided examples of questions that are likely to improve learning.
Textbooks and Procedure
We examined a convenient sample of 12 introductory psychology textbooks that included description on use of SQ3R and its variants (e.g., SQ4R, SQ3R Plus, PQ4R). The order with which textbooks were examined was randomized, and we were blind to the identity of the author(s). An analysis (Weber, 1980) was conducted in which themes were identified. Two independent evaluators reviewed the materials, and reliability was determined by calculating percentage of agreement (e. …