The Relation of Topics and Themes in Naturally Occurring Technical Paragraphs.
Technical rept. no. 1, 1 Jan-30 Aug 78,
ARIZONA UNIV TUCSON DEPT OF PSYCHOLOGY
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There is a distinction between two kinds of thematic information in a passage the main item, or topic, and the main idea, or theme. Although these are distinct kinds of information, the main idea should be about the main item. Separate groups of subjects generated title-like noun phrase identifications of topics, and simple sentence statements of themes, for paragraphs from Scientific American. Most theme statements contained one of the topics, with a frequency related to the popularity of the topic. Furthermore, theme statements most often contained a topic as the surface sentential subject. These results show that although identifying the main item and identifying the main idea are different tasks with different processes involved, there is a close correspondence between the two types of thematic information identified by readers. Author
- Information Science