Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Pui Fong Kan

Second Advisor

Eliana Colunga

Third Advisor

Arlene Stredler-Brown

Abstract

Introduction: In recent years, clinicians from several fields (including Speech-Language Pathology) have used multimedia technologies to provide specialized services to clients. The purpose of this master’s thesis is to explore the effects of using videoconferencing to collect language samples from young children using the story retelling task (SRT). In an SRT, children are told a story and are asked to retell the story to a naïve listener. The research questions ask whether face-to-face (FTF) and videoconferencing (VC) administrations of the SRT result in different language samples (Question 1), learning of novel words (Question 2), or task administration (Question 3).

Methods: Using a within-subjects design, six children, ages 3;0 – 5;11, were given the SRT in both FTF and VC conditions. For Question 1 (Q1), three language measures were taken from the resulting language transcripts. For Question 2 (Q2), children were tested on novel/target and control words before and after the SRT in both conditions to test for word learning. For Question 3 (Q3), FTF and VC administrations of the SRT were measured for length of time, total number of words spoken by the child, and total number of prompts given by the examiner.

Results: In response to Q1, the statistical analyses did not reveal significant differences between FTF and VC conditions. The children were shown to learn significantly more novel/target words than control words. However, no significant differences were revealed between the two conditions in the amount of words learned (Q2). Finally, there were no significant differences between FTF and VC conditions in any of the task administration variables (Q3).

Conclusions: In all three questions, there were no differences discovered between FTF and VC administrations of the SRT. However, children learned new words across both learning conditions. As a result, this study provides evidence that the two conditions are comparable when administering the SRT to typically developing young children. Despite these preliminary findings, more research is needed to verify whether similar results would be found with young children with communication challenges.

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