In this study each of the female college student participants read 4 to 6 pages of the print text, read an equivalent amount of an ebook, and listened to approximately 10 minutes of an audiobook. For each modality participants experienced one of three different texts. The order in which the texts and modalities were received was randomly assigned. Engagement and motivation were used as frameworks for this study. In the experiment, interest and engagement in each text were measured through an interest inventory. Participants filled out the same measure after experiencing each text, providing a consistent, comparable measure across formats. Comprehension was the other framework, and the outcome measure used to assess it was the Content Reading Inventory (CRI), a tool commonly used by classroom teachers. This research found no statistically significant differences in comprehension across print, ebook, and audiobook modalities. Participants' levels of comprehension for each text were the same regardless of the format in which it was received. There was also no difference in engagement across modalities; the amount of interest participants expressed in a text was the same regardless of the format in which it was received. In other words, the text that was the least popular, was equally unengaging in all three formats.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2011. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Dr. David O’Brien. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 132 pages, appendices A-E.
Moyer, Jessica E..
"Teens today don't read books anymore:" a study of differences in comprehension and interest across formats..
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