This paper aims to investigate the reading format choices of students in a reading-intensive course when faced with options of purchasing their assigned readings in print, borrowing them from library reserves, accessing them from their course website or any combination thereof. It also seeks to map their behaviors to their academic aptitudes and achievements.
An online survey was distributed at the end of the quarter consisting of nine multiple-choice and open-ended questions on their format behaviors and academic aptitudes. Descriptive statistics, Chi-square tests and content analysis were used to obtain results.
Most students in this study purchased print copies of their assigned readings even though they were available for free both in the library and online. Over 72 per cent read their assignments either in“print” or “mostly in print”. However, the data did not produce evidence of correlations between format behaviors and SAT Writing scores or final grades in the course.
The self-selected sample of participants appears to be academically homogeneous without enough diversity of behaviors and aptitudes to make generalizations. Replication of this study should be performed among a more academically diverse group of students.
Studies show that students prefer print to electronic format for academic readings, but they often cite factors like cost and convenience that impact their behaviors. Rather than survey general preferences, this study examines actual behaviors when presented with several format options and discusses why students make their choices.
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