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Prevalence, Structure, and Function of Photographs in High School Biology Textbooks.

Photographs are a major component of high school science textbooks, which dominate classroom approaches to teaching and learning. It is surprising then that the function of photographs and their relation to captions and texts have not been the topic of analysis. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence, function, and structure of photographs in high school science textbooks. The motivating research question was, �What can students learn from textbooks when they study photographs?� To answer this and several subordinate questions, we selected and analyzed four Brazilian biology textbooks. We focused on the use of photographs and the relation between them, various types of texts, and the subject matter presented. The analysis reveals that the structural elements of text, caption, and photographs and the relations between them differ across the textbooks and at times even within the same book. This, of course, will influence readers� interpretations of the photographs and changing their role in the text. The results of this study have implications for textbooks authors and textbook readers. We suggest that future studies may focus on students� and teachers� interpretation of photographs in real time.

Pozzer, L. L., & Roth, W.-M. (2003). Prevalence, function, and structure of photographs in high school biology textbooks. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 40(10), 1089-1114.

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