Arab World English Journal (June 2013)                                                                                          Theses / Dissertation

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 Name of researcher: Ghyzayel Muhammad Al-Otaibi

Title of the thesis/dissertation: The Effect of Using Computer-Assisted Semantic Mapping on Nursing Students’ Reading Comprehension of Medical Texts and Vocabulary Increase at King Saud University

 Subject/major: Applied linguistics

University name, department name: English Department, College of Arts, King Saud Universi

Degree: Master’s Degree
Year of award: 2011


Nursing students at KSU are considered to be low achieving readers. They face difficulties with understanding and recalling medical texts due to the fact that they lack some necessary medical vocabulary knowledge. Thus, the researcher used computer-assisted semantic mapping (CASM) with level-three (114 NAJM) nursing students to map medical terms and medical passages for the purpose of helping such students in vocabulary acquisition and text recall and comprehension. The present study, therefore, aimed at investigating the efficiency of CASM in improving ESP students’ reading comprehension and vocabulary knowledge. It also explored the effectiveness of CASM in enhancing students’ ability for information retrieval and documented students’ attitudes towards the technique of semantic mapping (SM).Participating subjects were of two groups: Group A (n = 32) and Group B (n = 26). The control group (n = 26) received traditional in-class instruction that depends on the textbook only and the experimental group (n = 32) received a combination of traditional in-class instruction and SM instruction using a software (FreeMind 0.8.1). A pre- and post-test were utilized to assess student reading and vocabulary skills before and after the intervention. Students’ medical knowledge was also examined in the pre- and post-tests. The semantic-mappingtreatment lasted 8 weeks. Results showed that SM expanded student vocabulary and enhanced their recall ability, but it was ineffective in improving student reading comprehension. This lack of progress in reading is attributed to the program’s incapability of reinforcing reading comprehension skills such as inferencing and understanding causal relationships in a text. Further, students lack some necessary background knowledge that might aid them in making inferences and in comprehension. Also, SM needs more of teacher modeling and student training. However, students reported positive attitude towards usefulness of the technique

Keywords: Semantic mapping (SM), ESP, medical vocabulary, medical reading, nursing, concept mapping, inferencin