Five readers on the spot : a case study of readings of online news items
Katajamäki, Heli; Raatikainen, Olli (2019)
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
The aim of this study is to discover how readers’ worldly knowledge (knowledge of the world through experiences and reading) influences their readings of online news. Readings refer in this study to readings on a practical level (the actual reading process, understanding content and evaluating the credibility of the news items) and interpretations of texts as contextual phenomena. The data were collected through eye-tracking tests, questionnaires, and interviews with three inexperienced readers and two experienced newspaper readers. The study is based on Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis and Bhatia’s genre theory. The findings show differences in readings between the five readers. On a practical level, eye-tracking showed that while the inexperienced readers’ and the experienced readers’ reading speeds and reading strategies differ from each other, eye-tracking and the questions on the content proved that all readers have read and understood the text. The inexperienced readers’ interpretations concentrated more on the content than experienced readers’ interpretations. Besides this difference, we found that the interpretation of the inexperienced readers seemed unsure, whereas the interpretation of the experienced readers seemed either partly overconfident and limitedly critical or self-conscious and critical. It became evident that for all readers their worldly knowledge formed the basis for their interpretations.
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