Deep-level question

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Deep-level question: This is a method of instruction wherein questions are added to instruction that is otherwise able to function without them. The questions invite students to draw links between mechanisms, components or processes (Craig, et al. 2006; Gholson & Craig, 2006). This would encompass many of the long answer question categories of the Graesser & Person (1994) Taxonomy (e.g. causal antecedent, causal consequence, comparison, & interpretation) and the higher level categories of Bloom's taxonomy (Bloom, 1956). Comprehension monitoring questions, text-base questions (McNamara & Kintch, 1996), content-free self-explanation prompts (Chi et al., 2001), are not included.

Although deep-level questions often require students to type or otherwise express their answers (PSLC project example), some deep-level questions are rhetorical in that students are not able to enter answers(PSLC project example).

When deep-level questions precede the original instruction, they are a kind of advance organizers (Ausubel, 1960). When they follow the original instruction, they are a kind of reflection questions. However, they can also be inserted in the midst of the original instruction.

When this independent variable is manipulated, the contrast is often with the original instruction, which is often the ecological control, that did not include the deep-level questions.


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  • Bloom, B. S. (Ed.). (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives. Handbook 1: Cognitive domain. New York: McKay.
  • Craig, S. D., Sullins, J., Witherspoon, A. & Gholson, B. (2006). Deep-Level Reasoning Questions effect: The Role of Dialog and Deep-Level Reasoning Questions during Vicarious Learning. Cognition and Instruction, 24(4), 565-591.
  • Graesser, A. C., & Person, N. K. (1994). Question asking during tutoring. American Educational Research Journal, 31, 104-137.
  • Gholson, B. & Craig, S. D. (2006). Promoting constructive activities that support vicarious learning during computer-based instruction. Educational Psychology Review, 18, 119-139. [1]
  • McNamara, D. S., & Kintsch, W. (1996). Learning from text: Effects of prior knowledge and text coherence. Discourse Processes, 22, 247-288.