A Study on Effects of Multimodal Science Text Design on Meaning-Making of Science Content: Science Teachers’ Perspectives

Zekai Ayık, Bayram Coştu


Numerous studies demonstrated that the meaning-making of scientific knowledge is affected by the design of multimodal science texts. Various modes are co-operated together in certain inter-semiotic mechanisms to produce meaning in multimodal texts. Based on this perspective, this research seeks to investigate the effect of mode level in science texts and compositional arrangement on the meaning-making of science concepts and processes. In this context, four science texts with the same content (transformation of energy) at different mode densities and two science texts with the same content (covalent bonding) one of which is arranged in accordance with variation theory of learning are designed. By using the case study method, this research explored six experienced science teachers’ views about the effects of mode level and multimodal text composition on meaning-making. The data were collected with semi-structured interviews. The thematic analysis was employed for data analysis. The findings demonstrated that mode density may affect meaning-making and so learning since different modes have affordance to represent different meaning and meaning relationship types. Besides, multimodal text composition may foreground the critical aspects of content, and help to design a coherent multimodal science text.


Multimodality; Meaning-Making; Pedagogic Texts; Learning; Science Teaching

Full Text:



Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2009). A disciplinary discourse perspective on university science learning: Achieving fluency in a critical constellation of modes. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(1), 27–49. https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.20265

Akaygun, S., & Jones, L. L. (2014). Words or Pictures: A comparison of written and pictorial explanations of physical and chemical equilibria. International Journal of Science Education, 36(5), 783–807. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2013.828361

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101. https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa

Chandler, D. (2007). Semiotics the Basics, Second Edition - 69249454-chandler-semiotics.pdf. 29–30. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(02)00176-5

Creswell, J. W., Hanson, W. E., Plano, V. L. C., & Morales, A. (2007). Qualitative Research Designs: Selection and Implementation. The Counseling Psychologist, 35(2), 236–264. https://doi.org/10.1177/0011000006287390

DiSessa, A. A. (2004). Metarepresentation: Native competence and targets for instruction. Cognition and Instruction, 22(3), 293–331. https://doi.org/10.1207/s1532690xci2203_2

Fredlund, T. (2015). Using a Social Semiotic Persp to Inform the Teaching and Learning Phys. Upsala University.

Fredlund, T., Linder, C., & Airey, J. (2015). A social semiotic approach to identifying critical aspects. International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, 4(3), 302–316. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLLS-01-2015-0005

Halliday, M. A. K. (2004). An Introduction to Functional Grammar (3rd ed.). Arnold.

Hay, D. B., & Pitchford, S. (2016). Curating blood: how students’ and researchers’ drawings bring potential phenomena to light. International Journal of Science Education, 38(17), 2596–2620. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2016.1253901

Herrlinger, S., Höffler, T. N., Opfermann, M., & Leutner, D. (2017). When Do Pictures Help Learning from Expository Text? Multimedia and Modality Effects in Primary Schools. Research in Science Education, 47(3), 685–704. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-016-9525-y

Jaipal, K. (2010). Meaning making through multiple modalities in a biology classroom: A multimodal semiotics discourse analysis. Science Education, 94(1), 48–72. https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.20359

Jewitt, C. (2008). Multimodality and literacy in school classrooms. Review of Research in Education, 32, 241–267. https://doi.org/10.3102/0091732X07310586

Jewitt, C., Bezemer, J., & O’Halloran, K. (2016). Introducing Multimodality. In Introducing Multimodality. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315638027

Jewitt, C., Kress, G., Ogborn, J., & Tsatsarelis, C. (2001). Exploring learning through visual, actional and linguistic communication: The multimodal environment of a science classroom. Educational Review, 53(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/00131910123753

Kloser, M. (2013). Exploring high school biology students’ engagement with more and less epistemologically considerate texts. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 50(10), 1232–1257. https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.21109

Lemke, J. L. (1990). Talking science : language, learning, and values. Ablex Pub. Corp.

Lemke, J. L. (1998). Multiplying meaning: Visual and verbal semiotics in scientific text. In J. R. Martin & R. Veel (Eds.), Reading Science (pp. 87–114). Routledge. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/246905867

Lemke, J. L. (2000). Opening up closure: Semiotics across scales. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 901(1), 100–111. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2000.tb06269.x/full

Liu, Y., & Owyong, Y. S. M. (2011). Metaphor, multiplicative meaning and the semiotic construction of scientific knowledge. Language Sciences, 33(5), 822–834. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langsci.2011.02.006

Marton, F., & Booth, S. A. (1997). Learning and Awareness. Laerence Erlbaum Associates.

Marton, F., & Tsui, A. B. M. (2004). Classroom Discourse and the Space of Learning. Laerence Erlbaum Associates.

Meneses, A., Escobar, J. P., & Véliz, S. (2018). The effects of multimodal texts on science reading comprehension in Chilean fifth-graders: text scaffolding and comprehension skills. International Journal of Science Education, 40(18), 2226–2244. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2018.1527472

Norris, S. (2011). Modal density and modal configurations: Multimodal actions. In C. Jewitt (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of multimodal analysis (pp. 78–90). Routledge.

O’Halloran, K. L. (2007). Systemic Functional Multimodal Discourse Analysis (SF–MDA) Approach to Mathematics, Grammar and Literacy. In A. McCabe, M. O’Donnell, & R. Whittaker (Eds.), Advances in Language and Education (pp. 77–102). Continuum.

Oliveira, A. W., Rivera, S., Glass, R., Mastroianni, M., Wizner, F., & Amodeo, V. (2014). Multimodal Semiosis in Science Read-Alouds: Extending Beyond Text Delivery. Research in Science Education, 44(5), 651–673. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-013-9396-4

Patron, E., Wikman, S., Edfors, I., Johansson-Cederblad, B., & Linder, C. (2017). Teachers’ reasoning: Classroom visual representational practices in the context of introductory chemical bonding. Science Education, 101(6), 887–906. https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.21298

Royce, T. D. (1998). Synergy on the Page: Exploring intersemiotic complementarity in page-based multimodal text. In JASFL Occasional Papers (Vol. 1, Issue 1, pp. 25–49).

Savin-baden, M., & Major, C. H. (2013). Qualitative Research: The essential guide to theory and practice. Routledge.

Tang, K. S. (2013). Instantiation of multimodal semiotic systems in science classroom discourse. Language Sciences, 37, 22–35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langsci.2012.08.003

Tang, K. S., Delgado, C., & Moje, E. B. (2014). An integrative framework for the analysis of multiple and multimodal representations for meaning-making in science education. Science Education, 98(2), 305–326. https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.21099

Tang, K., Tan, S. C., & Yeo, J. (2011). Students’ multimodal construction of the work–Energy concept. International Journal of Science Education, 33(13), 1775–1804. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2010.508899

Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in Society. In M. Cole, V. John-Steiner, S. Scribner, & E. Souberman (Eds.), Mind in society: The development of higher pedagogical proceses. Harvard University Press.

Waldrip, B., Prain, V., & Carolan, J. (2010). Using multi-modal representations to improve learning in junior secondary science. Research in Science Education, 40(1), 65–80. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-009-9157-6

White, J. V. (1982). Editing by Design (2nd ed.). R.R. Bowker Company.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.53400/mimbar-sd.v8i1.31331


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Mimbar Sekolah Dasar

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

View Mimbar Sekolah Dasar Stats