The purpose of this study was to examine two of the salient elements of instructional narratives as a guide to instructional practice. The literature summarized in this report discusses the theoretical basis for narrative impact on comprehension and retention, enumerates and defines possible salient narrative elements from the literature, and examines the instructional impact of two of these elements: concrete details and causal structure. This is intended to help provide guidance to instructional designers and teachers who desire to use narrative in science instruction. Participants included 94 high school physics students. An experimental research design of 2 (Gender) x 2 (Concreteness) x 2 (Causal Structure) x 2 (Comprehension as within-subjects) ANCOVA was used to analyze the effects of the narrative elements. It was found that concrete details improved comprehension and retention but that causal structure had no statistically significant impact on comprehension or retention. There were no significant gender differences in comprehension or retention though there were two- and three-way interactions between the independent variables.
College and Department
David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Wilcken, Wendi Michelle, "Comprehension and Retention: The Effect of Concrete Details and Causal Structure in Scientific Narrative" (2008). Theses and Dissertations. 1650.
science narrative, concrete, expository, comprehension, physics, retention