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Revista signos

versión On-line ISSN 0718-0934


PERONARD, Marianne. Reading from paper and from computer screen. Rev. signos [online]. 2007, vol.40, n.63, pp.179-195. ISSN 0718-0934.

Our aim was to compare the degree of comprehension and the time needed to achieve it, when reading a scientific text on paper or on screen. At the same time, we wanted to correlate these results with the preference expressed by the subjects for reading directly from the screen or printing the information before reading it. We worked with a group of 158 first year university students. The data was obtained by means of two tests: the first one was mean meant to measure inferential comprehension of a scientific text (half of the students read it first on paper and, four month later, on screen, while the other half read it first on screen and then on paper). Although the difference did not turn out to be statistically meaningful, reading the text first on paper seemed to improve the comprehension of the text when the subjects read it the first time on paper. The other test was a questionnaire of six questions representing different hypothetical situations in which the subjects received information through the computer. The sampled was formed by 158 students attending first year university courses. The results showed that a) on the whole, the scores on the comprehension test were very low; b) reading on paper was faster than reading on screen and that the subjects got higher scores using that media; c) the attitude towards reading on the screen had no significant impact on the comprehension of the text written on the screen; d) the students who read the text first of paper had better scores on the comprehension test. In sum we concluded that, from an educational point of view, reading from the screen might be more effective because of the amount of information available on the web, but reading on paper is more efficient

Palabras clave : Reading from paper; reading from computer screen; comprehension; efficiency; attitude.

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