Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr John Rowe

Second Advisor

Dr Mark Hackling


Illustrations are present in the majority of Secondary Science textbooks. The type of illustration used and its purpose varies from text to text. The four most common forms of illustration are the photograph, hand drawing, line drawing and scientific abstract diagram. Some illustrations such as glossy photographs serve no other purpose than to attract the student to the text and motivate them to read. Others such as the scientific diagram present a lot of information in a condensed form and their purpose is to clarify concepts. Some at these more complex illustrations are often difficult to interpret especially for younger reades. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect that four forms of illustration had on Year 8 students' comprehension of the topic corrosion. Seventy-six Year 8 students participated in this study. Each student completed a pre-test three weeks before the study. During the study each student was given a booklet containing four sections. Each section dealt with a sub-concept of corrosion and was accompanied by an illustration. Each booklet contained four different illustrations, a photograph, a hand drawing, a line drawing and an abstract scientific diagram. After reading each section the students completed three questions relating to the concepts covered. The third question assessed the students' interpretive and applied comprehension, which gave a more accurate assessment of comprehension. Data were analysed using ANCOVAs. There was no statistically significant differences found in relation to any of the illustrations or questions. Line drawings yielded results that were close to being significnatly different from the other forms of illustration. The possibily of further research on this form of illustration is discussed. The analysis of the third question dealing with interpretive and applied comprehension in relation to the illustrations also produced results that indicate that it is an area for further research.