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Title: Demythologising skimming : the operationalisation, teaching and practice of skimming in a second language with special reference to the IELTS test
Author: Rodgers, John Martyn Henry
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2009
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Despite its prominence, especially in academic reading, skimming is much under researched with very few research papers devoted to it, of which only two are L2- related. Such research as there is suggests that skimming is most likely to be effective when the text is predictable, familiar and simple (in terms of content, structure, language or any combination of these). This study considers skimming within an L2 context (specifically, skimming for the IELTS test). In particular, it investigates the specific characteristics of skimming. In addition, it considers the relationship between skim reading texts with familiar and unfamiliar content. The pedagogy-focused enquiry consists of an analysis of the way 14 textbooks cover skimming and a further analysis of 92 questionnaire responses from IELTS teachers. The learner-focused enquiry analyses 16 verbal protocols, collected from participants who had read texts with familiar and unfamiliar content. The textbooks examined implied that skimming is extremely useful for IELTS candidates, though there was no unanimity about the speed of skimming or its operationalisation. Similarly, the teachers surveyed almost unanimously endorsed the value of skimming for test-takers but varied greatly in their methods of teaching and even in their understanding of the extent to which it can be taught. Analysis of the verbal protocols revealed a number of strategies that were used by skim readers, a comparison with Anderson's (1991) list of strategies for normal reading indicating the particular emphasis of skim readers on time-saving and gist-yielding strategies. Comparison of quantitative data showed no major differences in scores between skimming texts of familiar and unfamiliar content, although the participants' perception of difference, with the text with unfamiliar content being perceived as far more difficult, was acute. It was concluded that there is a continuum from normal reading to skimming: thus skimming is a variant of normal reading and not a separate process from it.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available