Academic reading format preferences and behaviors among university students worldwide: A comparative survey analysis

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This study reports the descriptive and inferential statistical findings of a survey of academic reading format preferences and behaviors of 10,293 tertiary students worldwide. The study hypothesized that country-based differences in schooling systems, socioeconomic development, culture or other factors might have an influence on preferred formats, print or electronic, for academic reading, as well as the learning engagement behaviors of students. The main findings are that country of origin has little to no relationship with or effect on reading format preferences of university students, and that the broad majority of students worldwide prefer to read academic course materials in print. The majority of participants report better focus and retention of information presented in print formats, and more frequently prefer print for longer texts. Additional demographic and post-hoc analysis suggests that format preference has a small relationship with academic rank. The relationship between task demands, format preferences and reading comprehension are discussed. Additional outcomes and implications for the fields of education, psychology, computer science, information science and human-computer interaction are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0197444
Pages (from-to)e0197444
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Parts of this research have been supported by funding from an internal grant by the Librarians Association of the University of California-Los Angeles. Parts of this research have been supported by seed funding from Carnegie Mellon University under an internal grant titled Novice and Expert Information Behavior in the Arab Gulf.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Mizrachi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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