Exploring Information About Concepts by Asking Questions


This chapter discusses the process of exploring information about concepts by asking questions and comprehending answers to the questions. It reports a study in which college students used a hypertext computer environment to explore information about woodwind instruments. The software contains a Point and Query (P&Q) interface in which the students (1) point to a particular word or picture element on each computer screen, (2) point to a question on a menu of questions that are relevant to the element, and (3) read the answer to the question. Thus, the students learned entirely by asking questions and interpreting answers. It discusses the questions on the question menu tapped different types of knowledge: taxonomic, definitional, sensory, spatial, procedural, and causal. The chapter analyzes the types of questions and knowledge that the students selected when they explored the knowledge base. Their selection of questions was expected to vary systematically as a function of their purpose in acquiring information about woodwinds, their prior knowledge about music, and their exposure to the woodwind software. By examining their selection of questions, it investigates the evolution of their knowledge about woodwinds. The chapter identifies how particular categories of question map systematically onto particular types of knowledge. It also reports an empirical study of concept exploration with the P&Q software. © 1993 Academic Press Inc.

Publication Title

Psychology of Learning and Motivation - Advances in Research and Theory