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پایان نامه رشته زبان انگلیسی:The Comparative Impact of Analysis and Inference on Intermediate EFL Learners’ Reading Comprehension

متن کامل پایان نامه مقطع کارشناسی ارشد رشته :زبان انگلیسی

عنوان : The Comparative Impact of Analysis and Inference on Intermediate EFL Learners’ Reading Comprehension


Central Tehran Branch

Faculty of Foreign Languages

Thesis Submitted In Partial Fulfilment Of The Requirements For The Degree Of Master Of Arts In Teaching English As A Foreign Language



The Comparative Impact of Analysis and Inference on Intermediate EFL Learners’ Reading Comprehension


Dr. Sholeh Kolahi


Dr. Behdokht Mall Amiri



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This study was an attempt to investigate whether there is any significant difference between the effects of inference and analysis critical thinking skills on intermediate EFL learners’ reading comprehension. To reach this aim, the 2011 version of PET was utilized to select a homogeneous sample. Ninety four learners of intermediate level from Parsa Language School in Kashan were selected through the convenient non-random sampling. They were given the PET and subsequently, 60 subjects whose score fell between one standard deviation above and below the mean were selected. Then, they were randomly divided into two experimental groups and four classes of 15 with unequal number of males and females. They ranged from 12-16 years old. At the outset of the study and before giving any instruction, the participants sat for a pre-treatment test which was the reading comprehension section of the 2010 version of PET. After administering the pre-treatment test and calculating running a t-test, the researcher was assured that there was no significant difference regarding reading comprehension ability between the two groups prior to the treatment. During the treatment, the first experimental group (E1) was exposed to analysis, while the second experimental group (E2) practiced inference skills about 30 minutes during each session. In E1, the researcher employed the rhetorical précis by Woodworth (1988), whereas the observation/inference chart designed by Nokes (2008) was used in E2. The treatment occurred for 13 sessions. At the end of the semester, the experimental groups were post-tested through the reading comprehension section of the 2009 version of PET. Finally, an independent sample t-test was run to check if there was any significant difference between the effects of inference and analysis on reading comprehension of the learners. The results showed that the participants in the inference group outperformed those in the analysis group. Meanwhile, the participants in analysis group showed progress in post-test in comparison to their performance in pre- treatment test. Therefore, it can be concluded that the present study also emphasize and confirm the positive role of teaching critical thinking skills –in this study, inference and analysis- on reading comprehension.

 Table of contents

CHAPTER Ι: Background and Purpose

1-1 Introduction. 2

1-2 Statement of the Problem.. 12

1-3 Statement of the Research Question. 17

1-4 Statement of the Research Hypothesis. 17

1-5 Definition of Key Terms. 18

1-5-1 Reading Comprehension. 18

1-5-2 Critical Thinking. 18

1-5-3 Analysis. 18

1-5-4 Inference. 19

1-6 Significance of the study. 20

1-7 Limitation and Delimitations of the Study. 27

1-8 Assumptions. 27

CHAPTER ΙΙ: Review of the Related Literature

2-1 Introduction. 29

2-2 Thinking. 29

2-2-1 Types of Thinking. 33

2-3 A brief History of the Idea of Critical Thinking. 37

2-3-1 What Is Critical Thinking?. 41

2-3-2 Characteristics of the Critical Thinker 46

2-3-3 Critical Thinking Skills and Dispositions. 50

2-3-3-1 Inference and Analysis. 57

2-4 Teaching Critical Thinking. 59

2-4-1 How to Teach Critical Thinking. 62

2-5 Advantages of Critical Thinking. 67

2-6 Problems in Teaching Critical Thinking. 70

2-7 Language and Thought 73

2-8 Reading Comprehension. 77

2-8-1 Reading. 79

2-8-2 Comprehension. 81

2-8-3 Nature of Reading. 83

2-9 Theories in Second Language Reading. 84

2-9-1 Process Approach. 84

2-9-2 Schema Theory. 86

2-10 Reading Processing. 88

2-10-1 Bottom-up Processing. 88

2-10-2 Top-down Processing. 89

2-10-3 Interactive Processing. 89

2-11 Reading Comprehension Strategies. 90

2-11-1 How to Teach Reading Comprehension by Inference and Analysis. 92

2-12 Models of Reading. 97

2-12-1 Bottom-up Models. 97

2-12-2 Top-down Models. 98

2-12-3 Interactive Models. 99

2-13 Types of Reading. 100

2-13-1 Intensive Reading. 100

2-13-2 Extensive Reading. 101

2-13-3 Scanning and Skimming Reading. 102

2-13-4 Receptive and reflective Reading. 103

2-14 Critical Reading. 103

2.14.1 Approaches to Critical Reading. 106

2-15 Related Studies on Critical Thinking and Reading Comprehension  107

CHAPTER III: Methodology

3-1 Introduction. 113

3-2 Participants. 114

3-3 Instrumentation. 115

3-3-1 PET. 115

3-3-2 Reading Comprehension Pre-Treatment Test 116

3-3-3 Reading Comprehension Post-Test 117

3-3-4 Instructional Materials. 118

3-3-4-1 Course Book. 118

3-3-3-2 Pamphlet 118

3-3-4 Procedure. 118

3-3-6 Data Analysis. 136

CHAPTER IV: Results and Discussion

4-1 Introduction. 138

4-2 Participant Selection. 139

4-2-1 Descriptive Statistics of the Piloting PET Proficiency Test 140

4-2-2 Descriptive Statistics of the PET Proficiency Test 141

4-2-3 Dividing the Participants into Two Groups. 143

4-3 Pre-treatment Test 146

4-4 Post-test 151

4-5 The Results of Testing the Null Hypothesis. 154

4-6 Discussion. 156

CHAPTER V:  Conclusion, Pedagogical Implications

5-1 Introduction. 162

5-2 Summary of the Findings. 162

5-3 Conclusion. 164

5-4 Pedagogical Implications. 165

5-5 Suggestions for Further Research. 168

References. 171


Appendix A.. 194

Appendix B.. 195

Appendix C.. 214

Appendix D.. 224


Table 4-1 Descriptive Statistics for PET Proficiency Test piloting. 139

Table 4-2 Reliability of the PET Proficiency Test Piloting. 139

Table 4-3 Descriptive Statistics for PET Proficiency Test 140

Table 4-4 Reliability of the PET. 141

Table 4- 5 Inter-rater Correlation for Writing Section of the PET. 141

Table 4-6 Descriptive statistics of the PET scores of the two groups at the outset 142

Table 4-7 the Results of Normality Check of the Distribution of scores on PET. 143

Table 4-8 Group Statistics for Two Experimental Groups’ PET scores. 144

Table 4-9 Independent Sample T-test for Two Experimental Groups’ PET scores. 144

Table 4-10 Descriptive Statistics for the Results of the Pre-treatment Test 145

Table 4-11 Results of Normality of Distribution of Scores for Reading Comprehension Pre-treatment Test 147

Table 4-12 Results of Normality of Distribution of Scores for Reading Comprehension Pre-treatment Test 147

Table 4-13 Group Statistics T- Test for Pre-treatment Test 148

Table 4-14 Independent Samples T- Test for Pre-treatment Test 148

Table 4-15 Descriptive statistics for the results of the post-test 150

Table 4-16 Results of Normality of Distribution of Scores for Reading Comprehension Post-test 150

Table 4- 17 Results of Skewness Ratio for Reading Comprehension Post-test 150

Table 4-18 Group Statistics of Two Experimental Groups on the Post-test 153

Table 4-19 Independent Samples t-Test of Two Experimental Groups on the Post-test 153


                                             LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 2-1 Elements of Thought (Elder & Paul, 2007) 30

Figure 2-2 Critical Thinking Skills. 51

Figure 2-3 The Relationship between Skills and Dispositions. 53

Figure 2-4 Observation/Inference (O/I) Chart (Nokes, 2008) 95

Figure 3-1 Observation/Inference Chart (Nokes, 2008) 128

Figure 3-2 An Example of O/I Chart 133

Figure 4-1 The Histogram of Scores of PET Main Administration. 143

Figure 4-2 Histogram of the Scores Obtained on the reading Pre-Treatment Test of E1. 146

Figure 4-3 Histogram of the Scores Obtained on the Reading Pre-treatment Test of the E2. 146

Figure 4-4 Histogram of Scores Obtained on the Reading comprehension Post- test of E1. 151

Figure 4-5 Histogram of Scores Obtained on Reading Comprehension Post- test of E2. 152


 Background and Purpose

1-1 Introduction

Growth and advancement in educational systems are the most important characteristics of the present societies. This phenomenon, especially in recent decades, has become an important and sensitive issue in developing countries. The role of educational systems in the process of growth and persistent advancement of countries is accepted by everybody. Moreover, education is regarded as a main base of advancement and progress. The most observable and effective character in educational system is the thinking element (Hashemi, Naderi, Seif Naraghi, & Shariatmadari, 2010). Thinking and acquiring new information and the method of thinking and learning are the most important characteristics of human being and from other perspective, in new approaches; the great attention has been paid to teaching and learning by critical thinking which is one of the fundamental phenomena and dimensions in educational systems (Hashemi et al., 2010).

Critical thinking is a necessary skill in promoting the students’ thoughts. It is one of the new models in education system. This model pays special attention to the development of individual and social features of people so that mental power and social responsibilities will be fostered among the learners (Hashemi et al., 2010).

It is hard to formulate an encompassing definition for critical thinking; as it includes several levels of understanding. Paul and Elder (2001) believe that critical thinking is a mode of thinking about any subject, content, or problem. It is an ability with which students can improve their thinking quality by skillfully managing their thinking structures and intellectual criteria around them. Scriven and Paul (2003) define critical thinking as an intellectually disciplined process in which students actively and skillfully conceptualize, apply, synthesize, and evaluate information generated by observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, and communication. Facione (2000) believes that critical thinking is a cognitive process of developing reasonable, logical, and reflective judgment about what to believe or what to do. In the same line, Watson and Glaser (2002) define critical thinking as a composite of attitudes, knowledge and skills. Critical thinking does not expect students to answer the questions put in the class, but instead develops students’ sound judgment for problem-solving, decision-making, and higher-order thinking (Case, 2002; Taylor & Patterson, 2000 as cited in Alizade & Khatib, 2012).

Facione (2011) states that the experts are persuaded that critical thinking is a pervasive and purposeful human phenomenon. The ideal critical thinker can be characterized not merely by her or his cognitive skills but also by how she or he approaches life and living in general.

New trends in education nowadays are focusing on developing critical thinking skills. Fisher (2007, p. 1) asserts that, “in recent years critical thinking has become something of a buzz word in educational circles. For many reasons, educators have become very interested in teaching thinking skills of various kinds in contrast with teaching information and context” (as cited in Avendaño and Fonseca, 2009). Facione (1990) introduces critical thinking skills as interpretation, analysis evaluation, inference, explanation, and self–regulation. Research indicates that adult learners do not use critical thinking skills naturally, but these complex abilities develop in learners over time (Kurfiss, 1983; Paul, 1993). Scholars and educators believed that this kind of complex reasoning process can be improved with practice (Paul & Elder, 2004; Van Gelder, Bissett & Cumming, 2004) and advocated that developing critical thinking skills are crucial to help students “know how to learn and how to think clearly” (Halpern, 1998, p. 450).

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