Comprehension of scientific texts in English as a foreign language: the role of cohesion

  • Neemias Silva de Souza Filho
  • Beatriz Helloyse Araújo de Freitas
  • Janaina Weissheimer Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte
Palavras-chave: Reading Comprehension. Cohesion. Scientific Texts. English as a Foreign Language.


The reading of scientific texts is a challenge for students of all academic fields and levels. Whether it is a textbook in elementary education or a scientific paper in higher education, students are faced with a type of text which requires the reader's ability to generate inferences and the ability to fill informational gaps (BEST et al., 2005). This notion is in line with empirical evidence obtained by previous studies (e.g. OZURU et al., 2009). All of these works, however, were performed with native English speakers. In this sense, adopting the model of reading comprehension proposed by Kintsch (1998), we aimed to investigate if the results obtained by the previous studies, carried out with native speakers of English are also valid in a context of English as a foreign language. In addition, we pursue a methodological question, investigating whether the evaluation of reading comprehension through objective and subjective questions leads to convergent or divergent results. To investigate these questions, we analyze subjects’ answers to an objective questionnaire and in the production of a written summary. The results show that high-cohesion texts generate better results and point to possible research avenues.


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Biografia do Autor

Janaina Weissheimer, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte
Possui graduação em Letras Português Inglês pela UNISINOS (1999), mestrado em Lingüística Aplicada pela UNISINOS (2002) e doutorado em Letras (Inglês e Literatura Correspondente) pela Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina UFSC (2007). Realizou estágio pós-doutoral em neurocognição na University of California in San Diego (UCSD) em 2014-2015. Atualmente é professor adjunto IV da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN) em Natal. 
Como Citar
SILVA DE SOUZA FILHO, N.; ARAÚJO DE FREITAS, B. H.; WEISSHEIMER, J. Comprehension of scientific texts in English as a foreign language: the role of cohesion. Revista Odisseia, n. 9, p. p. 88 - 96, 4 dez. 2016.