The effects of refutation texts on generating explanations

Kelsey K. Will, Andalusia Masad, Haley A. Vlach, Panayiota Kendeou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of refutation texts on generating explanations and explore individual differences in quality of explanations. Seventy-five undergraduates read refutation and non-refutation texts addressing common scientific misconceptions and completed a two-tier post-test including True/False and open-ended questions. Readers' written post-test explanations were coded on accuracy and quality dimensions. The analysis of these explanations showed less circularity and uncertainty descriptors and more accuracy and causal connections in the refutation than the non-refutation condition. Further, three distinct clusters of readers emerged: coherence-building readers, non-coherence building readers, and promiscuous readers. Results demonstrate examining explanation characteristics can provide a useful tool for revealing how readers' knowledge influences learning from texts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-115
Number of pages8
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
StatePublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Comprehension
  • Explanation
  • Knowledge revision
  • Misconception


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