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Overview

Thus far, we have explicated the strategy clusters identified by Cho et al. (2018) by demonstrating how these may be applied in the service of students’ understanding, evaluating, and monitoring their comprehension of single texts or multiple texts or the development of their knowledge. Among the strategies classified in the CSF are processes identified through (a) think-aloud reports (Anmarkrud et al., 2014; Wolfe & Goldman, 2005); (b) students’ endorsement of strategy inventories (e.g., Multiple Text Strategy Inventory [MTSI], Braten and Stromso, 2011); (c) the comparison of the strategic performance of better and poorer learners (Goldman, Braasch, Wiley, Graesser, & Brodowinska, 2012; Wiley et al., 2009); and (d) the elicitation of certain strategies during processing (Maier & Richter, 2014; Stadtler & Bromme, 2007). Nevertheless, underlying these diverse methods for capturing strategy use is a central focus on what strategies students engage during multiple text use. That is to say, across these various approaches to capturing and studying strategy use, there has been the underlying assumption that the use of certain strategies over others results in particular benefits for multiple text comprehension and integration. Although this has often been found to be the case (e.g., Braten, Anmarkrud, Brandmo, & Stromso, 2014), such findings are hardly universal. For instance, while Braten and Stromso (2011) found the information accumulation dimension of the MTSI to be negatively associated with multiple text task performance, List, Du, Wang, and Lee (2019) found students’ reports of strategies aimed at both information accumulation and cross-textual elaboration to be positively associated with multiple text integration. Hagen, Braasch, and Braten (2014) found students’ connection formation in their written notes to be associated with multiple text comprehension when asked to write an argument, but not a summary; while Kobayashi (2009a) found students’ note-taking, or external strategy use, to have no effect on performance, regardless of task assignment. Wiley et al. (2009) found some justifications for source reliability to differ across students deemed more or less successful at multiple text task completion (e.g., attending to explanation quality), while others did not (e.g., considering cross-textual corroboration). At the same time, Stadtler and Bromme (2007) did not find students assigned to a prompted source evaluation intervention condition to differ in their comprehension of multiple texts, relative to a control group, although some benefits for source recall were identified.

Of course, these mixed findings can be explained in a number of ways, stemming from the variety of methods used to capture students’ multiple text use across studies, including differences in the task assignment, texts provided, and outcome measures used. Nevertheless, in this chapter, I argue that these mixed results stem, in part, from limitations in the ways that strategy use has been examined. In particular, I suggest that prior work has focused almost exclusively on what strategies students employ during multiple text use, failing to fully capture the dynamic and contextualized nature of strategy use during learning from multiple texts. In the second section of this chapter, I call on researchers leading the next phase of strategy research to move beyond questions addressing what strategies students use to conceptualize strategy use in a multidimensional fashion, one that more explicitly considers the where, when, whom, why, and how of strategy use, in addition to the what. I do this by reviewing work already addressing each of these focal questions, in turn.

 
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