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dc.contributor.advisorDavis, Lloyd
dc.contributor.advisorStringer, Mark
dc.contributor.authorMcNaughton, Andrew
dc.identifier.citationMcNaughton, A. (2015). Effect of Narrative Style on Recalling Anatomical Terms (Thesis, Master of Science Communication). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractUniversity level textbooks are written in a non-narrative form that contains no obvious storyline to engage the reader or act as a vehicle for the information they contain. Students often describe such books as ‘boring’. The present study examined the influence of a story line, or narrative, as a vehicle to carry factual anatomical terms. Terms normally learned from non- narrative, or expository style texts. A narrative, or storyline, is usually associated with text described as ‘fiction’. The story line is designed to engage readers in the text’s content, usually by enticing them into a degree of emotional involvement. They become transported, or immersed in the text. The narrative also functions as the framework upon which to hang the information contained within the text. Non-fiction text also requires a framework to provide structure, but it is not usually described as a ‘narrative’. When reading a textbook, the reader is not aware of a narrator’s voice, as they would be in a novel. Textbooks usually rely upon the logical order of their contents to guide the reader from one point to the next. Two groups, yielding 49 and 50 test subjects, of first year science students were given two types of text: one describing anatomical terms used in the bones of the forearm and the another describing the planes of section. One form of the text had an expository style and the other a narrative style. The key words occurred with the same frequency in both cases. Word length was also kept as similar as possible. Results indicated test subjects had significantly better recall of the bones of the forearm terms from the narrative text form compared to the non-narrative, expository, text style. The planes of section test results showed the same trend, but the difference, in this case, was not statistically significantly. The findings that a narrative text style was as effective, possibly more effective, than non-narrative text for conveying anatomical terms has significance for the ways factual information in general could be conveyed. The presence of a story line did not appear to distract from the underlying facts, as might have been expected. It may have functioned as a storyline is expected to in a novel: providing an engaging framework which information can be associated with. The sheer volume of facts contained within a university-level textbook may make this technique impractical in that context. At the school level, it may however be a very effective method of teaching scientific jargon, essentially ‘by stealth’, particularly as younger people are exploring their imaginations and are more likely to become deeply engaged in the underlying storyline. Recalling factual information embedded in the story should be no more difficult than recalling any other aspect of the story. Any reading situation which links the words ‘learning’ and ‘enjoyment’ cannot be a bad thing, particularly if it helps remove the term ‘boring’, often levelled at textbooks of for all ages.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectscience communication
dc.subjecttext style
dc.titleEffect of Narrative Style on Recalling Anatomical Terms
dc.language.rfc3066en of Science Communication of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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