Diagrams in the Comprehension of Scientific Texts

Authored by: Mary Hegarty , Patricia A. Carpenter , Marcel Adam Just

Handbook of Reading Research

Print publication date:  March  2016
Online publication date:  April  1996

Print ISBN: 9781138834262
eBook ISBN: 9780203447772
Adobe ISBN: 9781136610745


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Diagrams accompanied by text have been a common means of recording and conveying scientific and technical information since the 15th century. Illustrated technical books originated in engineers’ notebooks and manuals of technical processes. These books relied heavily on graphics, and when they included text, it served to explain the pictures. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century made these illustrated books available to a large audience. Some historians have suggested that their availability may have been a major cause of the large technological advances between the 16th and 18th centuries (Ferguson, 1977).

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