The Index of Narrative Microstructure: A Clinical Tool for Analyzing School-Age Children’s Narrative Performances Purpose This research was conducted to develop a clinical tool—the Index of Narrative Microstructure (INMIS)—that would parsimoniously account for important microstructural aspects of narrative production for school-age children. The study provides field test age- and grade-based INMIS values to aid clinicians in making normative judgments about microstructural aspects of pupils’ ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 01, 2006
The Index of Narrative Microstructure: A Clinical Tool for Analyzing School-Age Children’s Narrative Performances
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Laura M. Justice
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • Ryan P. Bowles
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • Joan N. Kaderavek
    University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
  • Teresa A. Ukrainetz
    University of Wyoming, Laramie
  • Sarita L. Eisenberg
    Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
  • Ronald B. Gillam
    University of Texas at Austin
  • Disclosure Statement
    Disclosure Statement×
    Ronald B. Gillam is an author of and receives royalties for sales of the Test of Narrative Language (Gillam & Pearson, 2004), which was used for data collection in this research.
    Ronald B. Gillam is an author of and receives royalties for sales of the Test of Narrative Language (Gillam & Pearson, 2004), which was used for data collection in this research.×
  • Contact author: Laura Justice, Preschool Language & Literacy Lab, Curry School of Education, Box 400873, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4273. Email: ljustice@virginia.edu
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 01, 2006
The Index of Narrative Microstructure: A Clinical Tool for Analyzing School-Age Children’s Narrative Performances
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2006, Vol. 15, 177-191. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2006/017)
History: Received July 17, 2005 , Accepted January 21, 2006
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2006, Vol. 15, 177-191. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2006/017)
History: Received July 17, 2005; Accepted January 21, 2006
Web of Science® Times Cited: 57

Purpose This research was conducted to develop a clinical tool—the Index of Narrative Microstructure (INMIS)—that would parsimoniously account for important microstructural aspects of narrative production for school-age children. The study provides field test age- and grade-based INMIS values to aid clinicians in making normative judgments about microstructural aspects of pupils’ narrative performance.

Method Narrative samples using a single-picture elicitation context were collected from 250 children age 5–12 years and then transcribed and segmented into T-units. A T-unit consists of a single main clause and any dependent constituents. The narrative transcripts were then coded and analyzed to document a comprehensive set of microstructural indices.

Results Factor analysis indicated that narrative microstructure consisted of 2 moderately related factors. The Productivity factor primarily comprised measures of word output, lexical diversity, and T-unit output. The Complexity factor comprised measures of syntactic organization, with mean length of T-units in words and proportion of complex T-units loading most strongly. Principal components analysis was used to provide a linear combination of 8 variables to approximate the 2 factors. Formulas for calculating a student’s performance on the 2 factors using 8 narrative measures are provided.

Conclusions This study provided a method for professionals to calculate INMIS scores for narrative Productivity and Complexity for comparison against field test data for age (5- to 12-year-old) or grade (kindergarten to Grade 6) groupings. INMIS scores complement other tools in evaluating a child’s narrative performance specifically and language abilities more generally.

Acknowledgments
The data collection activities in this study were supported by grants from Pro-Ed Corporation to the authors. Pro-Ed had no involvement in the preparation of the present work. The authors are grateful to the children and the numerous collaborators who participated in data collection. Gratitude is also expressed to Nikki Franklin, Jessica Kingsley, and Sarah Greene, all of whom assisted the first author with preparation of the data for this study. Portions of this work were presented at the 2003 Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Chicago.
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