Publication details [#58241]

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Article in book
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The very intricate process of text comprehension is implied whenever we deal with texts. It often overlaps with reading comprehension; both comprise cognitive, social and cultural skills. Text comprehension is an umbrella term for different phenomena of text-linked information processing; the term ‘literacy’ rules in the learning and testing setting. Basic properties and hurdles of text comprehension research are discussed: the need of artifacts, the lower versus higher level information processing impact, the shortage of research on separate comprehension elements, the indistinct impact of context variables, test development concerning educational and political demands, comprehension difficulties as to scientific texts, and restrictions of L2-comprehension research. Given the great influence of comprehension skills on individuals’ needs and sociocultural demands, there is a long tradition of particular educational programs, draft to increase these skills. In addition, issues regarding text comprehension have been and still are a main concern of various disciplines, especially cognitive science, linguistics and psychology. Moreover, sociocultural theories derived from social sciences and cultural studies have added to research on text (and reading) comprehension. In line with discipline -specific epistemologies, distinct approaches to text are covered either by the cognitive turn (text comprehension as interaction between text-based and mentally built representations of a situation covering apposite aspects of structure and agency) or by the cultural turn (examining the interrelationships between the individual’s mind and its context, as they are processed in socially and culturally framed meaning constructions). Future research perspectives cover calls for more sound competence assessment and enhancement models and for more research on adults. Research on comprehension now being conducted in a lot of different disciplines that miss a linking nexus could benefit from sociological expertise. Demands of joining and deducing information within this interdisciplinary framework require a pragmatic basis by virtue of suited action theories, thereby treating language use as a form of social action.