Weekly Task 12: Think-aloud protocol (Instructions)

Weekly Task 12: Instructions

A ‘think-aloud’ protocol is a record (written or spoken) of how you make sense of a reading text. There are various ways to do this, but this week’s task asks you to follow the procedure below.

The activity should take no more than an hour to complete. If you have not finished after an hour, just stop and upload what you have written, anyway. Follow the steps below:

a)      To prepare, find a quiet space where you have a computer with internet access. You will need to be able to consult The Dictionary of the Scots Language (www.dsl.ac.uk).  You’ll need a notebook and a pen. You will also need to have printed out the text for analysis, but you should not look at the text in detail (or, ideally, you should not look at it at all) before you start.

b)      Cover the text with a sheet of paper and look only at the title of the text.

c)       Write down the number (1) on your sheet of paper. Then write some notes about the title – recording what comes into your mind and how you think the text will develop. You will be making predictions about the content of the text.

d)      Then write down the number (2) and uncover the first line of the text. Write down what you think it means – write down everything that comes to mind. If you do not know the meaning of a word, try to find it in The Dictionary of the Scots Language. If you can’t find it, try to work out the meaning from context.  In your written record, try to verbalize everything that you think and do to puzzle out the meaning.

e)      Write down the number (3) and uncover the second line of the text. Do the same again – and continue until you come to the end of the text (ie the 12th line).

f)       When you have finished reading the complete text, write a few lines explaining how you now understand it. What things still puzzle you; what are your final thoughts?

g)      Review your notes (1)-(13). You should now have a record of the way you have processed the text, from title to final line. It’s probably not brilliant, but few first readings are! Type it up without making changes, and upload it onto moodle.

If you want to read more about research using protocol analysis, see Peskin, J. (1998). Constructing meaning when reading poetry: An expert-novice study. Cognition and Instruction, 16(3), 235-263. [See http://disciplinas.stoa.usp.br/mod/resource/view.php?id=74652]

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