In a double-blind study, a book’s title, synopsis and synopsis of its author are read aloud before the participants read a novel.
The author can only have one participant read the first part of the novel and then read the second part in front of the other two.
“It was really exciting and I think a lot of people are interested in doing it, because it gives us a chance to try different things,” says Dr John Aylward, the study’s lead author.
“You can’t just try to read one book and then have a whole new one.”
In the study, more than 2,000 people were asked to read a series of novels including two novels by authors like Jonathan Franzen and David Foster Wallace.
The books were then read aloud in front the participants.
Both the first and second part of each novel were read, but only the author could have one person read each novel.
This meant the second person would have to read all of the first novel.
“The main goal of this study was to see whether there’s any benefit to the participants reading more novel titles,” Dr Aylwards says.
The researchers found the novel titles had no impact on the people’s reading comprehension.
“There was no difference between the two types of titles.
The titles were very similar and that didn’t surprise us,” Dr Anildry says.
“We did find that some participants read more than the number of words in a book.
They were very interested in reading a lot more, but it wasn’t enough to change their reading comprehension.”
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In the second study, researchers tested the participants’ reading comprehension using a similar method to the first.
They asked the people to read up to two passages of a book and read them aloud in a group of three.
The participants were told that they were reading a book with two authors, and they had to read the whole book in order to complete the reading.
“After the second reading, the participants were asked questions about their reading and their comprehension of the story,” Dr Rochford says.
In one section, they were asked what they thought about the plot of the book.
In another section, the researchers tested their ability to identify and understand plot details.
The results showed that participants who had read more novel title had significantly higher levels of comprehension of plot details, while those who had only read the synopsis had significantly lower levels.
Dr Anoldry says this research shows how the authors have the final say on the plot and that this could be a benefit for readers who are reading more books.
“They may want to read more, because they think that they might enjoy it more, they might be more comfortable with it,” she says.
Read more about double- blind studies.
This is just one of many studies that have looked at the effects of fiction titles on readers’ reading skills.
“I think that the research shows that we’re getting better at getting people to understand what’s going on, because we’re using different words and different types of writing, and we’re trying to improve comprehension,” Dr Paul says.
For example, the authors of the Oxford Dictionary of Literary Biography recently published a study showing that readers who read more plot-heavy novels had lower rates of academic achievement than those who read less.
The Oxford University Press recently published another study, this time looking at how readers read more romance novels and romance novels with more plot.
“Romance fiction has become increasingly popular over the last 20 years and it’s certainly becoming more popular in the US and the UK,” Dr John says.
He adds that while the research is encouraging, it doesn’t prove that more romance fiction is a good idea.
“This is a case of people having different tastes and it is also a case where there are cultural differences in the way romance novels are written, which we don’t know what to make of,” he says.
While the research has been good, Dr John believes that the study has some flaws.
“While I’m really excited about this, I think the main limitation of this is that we don, unfortunately, have any way of measuring whether the authors were able to influence their readers’ knowledge,” he said.
Read the full story: The Oxford Dictionary Of Literary Biographies study: How the Oxford University Poet’s Dictionary has influenced the way we read