On asking people questions about what they are reading

Richard C. Anderson, W. Barry Biddle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This chapter focuses on the effects of asking people questions during or shortly after exposure to text passages. It also presents several original experiments designed to evaluate a model of the “direct” effects of questions and a report of an attempt to use questioning techniques in an ongoing instructional program is presented. The chapter also contains discussions of (a) the kinds of effects of questions, their magnitude and consistency, (b) the conditions under which questioning facilitates learning, (c) an appraisal of the explanations which have been proposed to account for the effects of questions, and (d) a brief evaluation of the practical educational implications of questioning techniques. However, the set of experiments presented in the chapter failed in its major objective, which was to give rise to a theory of the direct effects of questions. The most important findings of the present research are that in every experiment, verbatim scores are significantly higher than paraphrase scores when the questions are asked immediately after reading the passage, and that verbatim scores declines more over a one-week interval than did paraphrase scores. The most plausible interpretation of these facts is that there are at least two kinds of memory code, a close-to-surface code with a relatively short memorial half life, and a more permanent semantic-based code.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-132
Number of pages44
JournalPsychology of Learning and Motivation - Advances in Research and Theory
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Jan 1 1975

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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