Reading in Limbo: Caught in Transition Between Paper and Digital Texts (PhD project)
Students are increasingly using digital devices for study purposes. However, they are also required to read printed textbooks and articles. Does this transitional phase, in which printed and digital texts coexist, have any implications for learning from multiple texts? Or have students become so digitally competent that both types of texts are understood equally well?
Even though most digital reading may occur on the open Internet, there are also unanswered questions about potential differences between reading offline digital texts and traditional printed texts. Photo. pixabay.com
About the project
In this basic research project, we will investigate how undergraduate students read and understand digital and printed multiple documents.
Reading in the 21st century is heavily dependent on multiple document literacy, that is, the ability to locate, evaluate, and use diverse sources of information for the purpose of constructing and communicating an integrated, meaningful representation of a subject, issue, or situation. Learning from multiple documents might become more challenging when reading digital compared to printed texts. Especially when reading on the Internet, students may have to spend additional cognitive resources on self-regulation to avoid distractions, and the tasks of navigating and evaluating sources in digital contexts place high demands on working memory capacity.
Even though most digital reading may occur on the open Internet, there are also unanswered questions about potential differences between reading offline digital texts and traditional printed texts. Recent research has indicated that reading comprehension is better when reading printed compared to digital texts even when the texts differ only with regard to the medium (i.e., printed vs. digital). This research has not focused on the reading of multiple documents in particular, however. Moreover, most research within multiple document literacy has studied how students comprehend documents containing conflicting rather than complementary information.
In this project, we will investigate the effect of reading medium using multiple texts presenting complementary information across texts, with a particular focus on potential differences in students’ integration performance in digital and printed contexts. To investigate this issues, we will conduct three experiments with university level students.