Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. F. Mouney


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a context approach to vocabulary instruction versus a more traditional dictionary method of vocabulary instruction. Research favored the use of context for teaching vocabulary in a meaningful way. Words acquire meaning for a person after they have been seen and heard in relation to familiar concepts. A student's personal experiences should also be fully utilized in both vocabulary and concept development.

This study combined the areas of personal experience and use of context. The study involved thirty high school students who were randomly assigned to two groups. One group used the context method and the other group used a dictionary method. Thirty-two words were presented over a four-week period. An experimenter designed vocabulary checklist was used as a pretest and a posttest. A correlated t test was used to examine the mean gain scores of both groups. Analysis of the scores demonstrated that the use of context for vocabulary instruction was a significantly more effective method than the use of the dictionary.

A context approach which draws upon a student's personal background can offer teachers an alternative method of vocabulary instruction.