Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Research in the Teaching of English


To assess the effects of textual variation on students' preferred patterns of literary response, 166 college undergraduates were asked to read two poems and two short stories. They then completed a modified version of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement's Response Preference Measure for each literary work. Data from the response preference inventories were analyzed by means of a two-factor repeated-measurement MANOVA, with genre and tone as the within-subjects variables. Significant main effects were obtained for both genre and tone. The genre x tone interaction was, however, not significant. As a follow-up, a series of 2 x 2 repeated-measures ANOVAs were performed on each of the four dependent measures of response preference: personal statement, description, evaluation, and interpretation. A few overall trends worth noting follow: (a) students exhibited a preference for the descriptive response stance following their reading of the two lighthearted works; (b) works classified as having a serious tone tended to evoke personal, interpretive, and evaluative responses; (c) students favored a descriptive response stance subsequent to their reading of poetry; whereas, (d) short stories elicited a preference for the personal statement response stance.

Original Citation

Zaharias, J. A. (1986). The effects of genre and tone on undergraduate students preferred patterns of response to 2 short-stories and 2 poems. Research in the Teaching of English 20 (1), 56-68.


Publisher's PDF