Baylor, A. L. & McCormick, C. B. (2003). Thematic awareness and recall of information from text. Reading and Writing, 16, 247-258.
Publication year: 2003

In a repeated-measures experimental design, twenty-eight college students read and later answered questions about specific pieces of information in two sets of four fictitious biographical passages that differed in terms of the presence of thematic connections (with theme or without theme). As hypothesized, the students recalled more items from the theme set than the non-theme set. The positive effect of thematic connections was strongest for the students who exhibited some awareness of theme. In other words, the students who selected the theme set as the easiest recalled more than those who chose the non-theme set as easiest. The students who picked the theme set as easiest were also more accurate in their prediction estimates of their theme set recall. Student explanations for why one story set was easier than the other were predominantly Story explanations (referring to characteristics of the story) and Order explanations (referring to factors influenced by set order). Students gave different explanations depending on which story set they picked as easiest. As expected, the students who picked the non-theme set as easiest gave relatively few Story explanations. The students reported different patterns of strategy use depending upon whether or not they switched strategies for the different story sets.