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

Clark, Malcolm; Ruthven, Ian; Holt, Patrik O'Brian


Malcolm Clark

Ian Ruthven

Patrik O'Brian Holt


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, M., RUTHVEN, I. and HOLT, P.O'B. 2010. Perceiving and using genre by form: an eye-tracking study. Libri [online], 60(3), pages 268-280. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 21, 2010
Online Publication Date Nov 4, 2010
Publication Date Sep 30, 2010
Deposit Date Mar 13, 2015
Publicly Available Date Mar 13, 2015
Journal Libri
Print ISSN 0024-2667
Electronic ISSN 1865-8423
Publisher De Gruyter
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 60
Issue 3
Pages 268-280
Keywords Library; Information Sciences
Public URL


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