Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Eileen Wood

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This study investigated whether elaborative interrogation would be an effective learning strategy with lengthy expository text. One hundred undergraduates (65 females and 35 males) comprised the study’s 5 groups: a) naturalistic elaborative interrogation, b) self-study, c) repetition, d) elaborative interrogation with pre-underlined main ideas; and, e) elaborative interrogation with pre-underlined main ideas plus structured ‘why’ questions. The expectation was that elaborative interrogation would prove to be a potent learning strategy relative to lower-order strategies (e.g., repetition); and that, when using expository text, students may require some supports to maximize the strategy’s gains. All students read an eight page passage on childhood education from a university textbook, studied main ideas (pre-identified or not), and completed a free recall and multiple choice task As was expected, Bonferroni t’s (Q < .05) revealed that elaborative interrogation exceeded repetition’s performance on the total free recall score; and, the naturalistic group had fewer correct multiple choice responses for main ideas, and wrote down fewer main ideas on the free recall measure than the other two elaborative interrogation groups. However, the self-study group engaged mainly in lower-order strategies and was not outperformed by the naturalistic elaborative interrogation group. In addition, this study’s data revealed that undergraduates have limited abilities in recognizing main ideas within a textbook passage.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season