Verbal Protocols of Reading: The Nature of Constructively Responsive Reading

By Michael Pressley; Peter Afflerbach | Go to book overview

5
The Future of Reading Protocol Analyses: Addressing Methodological Concerns in Order to Advance Conceptual Understanding

In closing a book in which we have made so much of verbal reports, it might seem natural that we would provide high praise for the studies to date and the methods used in the studies. However, the more time we spent with this literature, the more convinced we were that these verbal report studies might better serve as markers on a path that can lead to more sophisticated and ambitious, and certainly more methodologically rigorous and detailed, studies. We are convinced that verbal self-reporting remains an underdeveloped methodology. Rather than place these concerns up front in this volume and thus, seem to undermine our conceptual efforts based on the self-report data generated to date, we elected to close the volume with commentary on methodology, using these concerns to suggest important research directions for the future, ones that can advance a conceptual understanding of both reading and protocol analysis as a valuable means of investigating reading.

We should emphasize that we think that the methods used to date were good enough to permit high confidence in the conclusions that we offered earlier in this volume. In chapter 3, we identified conscious processes that people can use in their reading, processes revealed through protocol analyses. We believe that much greater understanding of reading is possible, however, with additional insights in understanding reading through protocol analyses dependent on improvement of methods used in protocol studies.

The numerous and diverse methodological issues related to verbal reports made it difficult to construct a seamless discussion of the methodology and the future of protocol analysis. Thus, we are aware that this chapter may seem less coherently tied than the previous chapters in this volume: a series of related

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