Domain Knowledge and Analogic Reasoning Ability as Predictors of Expository Text Comprehension

Patricia A. Alexander, Jonna M. Kulikowich

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34 Scopus citations


In this investigation, we analyzed the role domain knowledge, analogic reasoning ability, and interactive knowledge play in the comprehension of scientific exposition. Data from three experiments involving sixth graders, high-school students, and college undergraduates are examined via regression and discriminant analysis procedures. The dependent variables in these analyses were student scores on expository passages on topics in human biology/immunology each prepared in two versions: with and without supporting analogy. The independent variables were subjects' performance on: (a) multiple-choice tests of human biology/immunology terminology (domain knowledge test), (b) figural analogy items from the Advanced Progressive Matrices (analogic reasoning test), and (c) A:B::C:? analogy problems composed of human biology/human immunology terms (interactive knowledge test). Results showed that the variables predicting performance on the nonanalogic and analogic versions and the variables discriminating between above-average and below-average performers differed across the grade levels with less integration of content knowledge and analogic reasoning ability occurring for college students. Implications of these results for theory and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-190
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Literacy Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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