Investigating the Alignments Between Scholarly and Popular Texts in Design: A Content Analysis

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this study was to investigate the alignments in the use of theory, principles and guidelines in instructional design books and popular books on design. The review of literature was conducted in three parts. The first part of the literature review was a general review of literature and it was conducted on cognitive information processing, cognitive load theory, affordance theory and text display. The second part of the literature review extracted the theories, principles and guidelines from four books on instructional design and technology. Six theories were extracted. The six theories extracted from these four books of instructional design and technology were cognitive information processing theory, cognitive load theory, multimedia theory, perception theory, minimalism theory and motivation theories. The third part of the review of literature was on content analysis, the different definitions of content analysis and the historical background of content analysis. Two sets of books were used in the study. The first set of books was instructional design and technology textbooks. These books were referred to as the scholarly books. The second set of books was selected by systematic sampling. These second set of books were the ten most positively reviewed books on web design from Inc. These ten books were pruned down to four books by a panel of experts. This second set of books was referred to as the popular books. A content analysis was conducted on the scholarly and the popular books. The theories, principles and guidelines extracted from the four scholarly books were aligned with the codified themes, word phrases and word sense from the four popular books. The results were tabulated under categories identified. The results showed that two of the popular books did not address theory in their content. The two other popular books addressed guidelines and principles applicable to the theories extracted in the scholarly books. The scholarly books gave theoretical foundations for their guidelines while the popular books did not give a theoretical foundation for their guidelines.



content analysis, Design, cognitive information processing, cognitive load theory, affordance, multimedia, theories, principles, guidelines, text display