Building and Testing Models of Reading Processes
Building and testing models of reading processes advance our understanding of what the reader does while reading. We seek to know not only the nature of reading behavior but, more importantly, the internal mental machinery guiding the observable behavior. In this chapter, I discuss the logic of scientific endeavor in reading-related research. In addition, I present specific instances to
Although students of reading are fundamentally concerned with actual reading, seldom is an empirical or theoretical study directly concerned with normal reading. As is common in most areas of scientific endeavor, investigators feel it necessary to abstract for study only one or two components from the phenomenon of interest. The phenomenon of reading is complex in its entirety, and usually little knowledge is gained without some simplification and control in its investigation. Although some influential researchers (e.g., Neisser, 1976) are unhappy with the analysis of specific experimental situations, the most advanced state of the art in reading rests on exactly this kind of analysis (Baron, 1978; Estes, 1978; Gibson & Levin, 1975; LaBerge & Samuels, 1977; Massaro, 1975a, 1978, 1979b).