University of Twente Student Theses


The (in)effectiveness of PDF reading

Heij, M.L. (2014) The (in)effectiveness of PDF reading.

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Abstract:This study’s aim is to find out whether it makes a difference if expository texts are read from screen (PDF format) or paper. It is hypothesized that reading from paper goes faster than reading from screen and that the participants in the paper reading condition score better on their test(s). The participants were 16 college students from the Netherlands. These students were randomized into four groups. All groups read both texts, though in different order. Group 1 read text one on paper then text two on screen, Group 2 read text two on screen then text one on paper, Group 3 read text one on screen then text two on paper and Group 4 read text two on paper then text one on screen. After each text the students had to answer questions about the respective text to test reading comprehension. Analysis showed contradicting results: text one was read faster from paper, text two from screen. However, these results were not significant. All participants scored better on their tests if the text had been read from paper, though these results were also not significant. Thus, these findings suggest there is no difference between reading from paper or screen. Keywords: paper, computer, PDF, reading speed, reading comprehension, reading.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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