Elementary School Journal
This study investigated the effects of science curricula organized around topical (a collection of concepts or descriptions) and causal (superordinate principles directly related to underlying concepts) styles of discourse. The curricula were revised to control for number of concepts and amount of vocabulary, and numerous audiovisual materials (videodisc, films, and slides) were used throughout the study. This research attempted to extend prior work on discourse styles by substantially lengthening the intervention and controlling for students' background knowledge. The intervention involved 6 weeks of earth science materials. 46 eighth graders and 2 teachers participated in the study. All students were taught the same background knowledge for 4 weeks prior to the intervention and were randomly assigned to 1 of the 2 discourse groups. Posttests and maintenance tests indicated that students who were taught with material employing the causal style of discourse had significantly better retention of facts and concepts and were superior in applying this knowledge in problem-solving exercises.
Woodward, John. "Effects of Curriculum Discourse Style on Eighth Graders' Recall and Problem Solving in Earth Science." Elementary School Journal. 94.3 (1994): 299-314. Print.