Research team

The effect of multimedia hyperlinks in fiction on reading motivation and immersion in adolescent readers: An empirical study. 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2021


Adolescents' reading habits, particularly of literary texts, are the object of scientific and social concern. Due to the omnipresence of short, digital texts they would read fewer literary texts, be less motivated to do so, and consequently underperform. Especially young adolescents are characterized by a drop in reading motivation. However, reading promoters point out the new possibilities of digital literary texts, such as hypermedia fiction. Hypermedia fiction offers the possibility to read literary texts on tablet, enriched with hyperlinks to supportive or comprehensive information. Hypermedia fiction could address a specific reading audience, particularly young, reluctant readers. In view of its recent character, research on hypermedia fiction is rather scarce and consequently the scientific and societal question whether hypermedia fiction can enhance reading motivation and story world immersion has not yet been answered. This project aims to fill that void. The research will be based on two consecutive studies on 12 to 13-year-old pupils and their teachers of Dutch. Five novels from different literary genres will be used as study material. In study 1 pupils (N=30) and teachers (N=30) are invited to mark the instances where they would like to have hyperlinks. This study results in two different data sets: 60 annotated novels, and qualitative data based on focus groups. These data provide insight in the desirability of hyperlinks (a.o. type, frequency) in literary texts and their influence on reading motivation and story world immersion. The annotated novels serve as the basis for study 2, in which the five novels are first converted to hypermedia fiction, and consequently read by 200 pupils in five so-called tablet schools. Each class is divided in three subgroups. One group reads a novel as hypermedia fiction (= experimental group); the other two groups read it on tablet (without hyperlinks) and on paper (= control groups). The experiment is conducted three times, in which each subgroup adopts the role of experimental group once. Data collection will be carried out with preliminary, intermediate and post-measurements; by monitoring click behaviour in the experimental group and focus groups. The research project will be carried out in close interfacultary cooperation between FSW/ASoE and FLW.


Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project