Perceiving and using genre by form - an eye-tracking study

Clark, Malcolm and Ruthven, Ian and Holt, Patrik O'Brian (2010) Perceiving and using genre by form - an eye-tracking study. Libri, 60 (3). (

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This paper reports on an approach to the analysis of genre recognition using eye-tracking. The researchers focused on eight different types of e-mail, such as calls for papers, newsletters and spam, which were chosen to represent different genres. The study involved the collection of oculographic behaviour data metrics, such as fixations and saccades to highlight the ways in which people view the features of genres. We found that genre analysis based on purpose and form (layout features, etc) was an effective means of identifying the characteristics of these e-mails. The research, carried out on a group of 24 participants, highlighted their interaction with the e-mail texts and the visual cues or features perceived as well as the strategies they employed for the processing of the texts. The results showed that readers can determine the purpose and form of genres, that form and content can occasionally be separable, that some features cause fixations and that some readers are prompted to respond by using saccadic behaviour (e.g. regressive saccades) over the shape of the e-mails (form).


Clark, Malcolm, Ruthven, Ian ORCID logoORCID: and Holt, Patrik O'Brian;