My Reserach So Far
I am very much in the exploration phase of this reserach project. I am starting to circle in on a topic that I am interested in, but am not sure exactly how I will pursue it.
I am very interested in visual rhetoric right now - it's a phase, all the cool kids are doing it. I really want to know how it works and why. I mean everyone is raving about visual rhetoric and how good it is for the students, but why exactly? Does it aid in retention? Does it inspire engagement with material? Does it simply tap into our computer and television infested minds?
I am drawn to the idea of quantitative study at this point. I know it's not an either/or proposition, but I would like to look at a large-ish sampling of students to try and identify trends when it comes to how they interact with visually ehanced electronic spaces. At this point I imagine maybe two groups - one "control" group and one "test" group - who would visit an electronic space or spaces. I would like to measure, somehow, reactions to spaces with visuals and those without. Maybe I could do this with just one group then, having them visit two types of spaces.
My problem at this point is how do you measure retention or engagement? I could see which type of space might inspire longer "reader" responses or maybe devise some sort of content quiz for the information.
I am also wondering who might take part in this study. Grad students are a good bet because they will usually help people out, but it would be cool to get a freshman perspective. Maybe I could arrange to teach a class for a colleague utilizing a computer lab and some visually enhanced reading and response.
I hope that my reading over the next week or two will help me uncover what other types of studies may have been done in this area. I may try looking beyond comp studies and focus on psychology and computer design as well.