Computer- vs. paper-based tasks: Are they equivalent?

Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, 12A Priory Road, Bristol, UK.
Ergonomics (Impact Factor: 1.56). 10/2008; 51(9):1352-75. DOI: 10.1080/00140130802170387
Source: PubMed


In 1992, Dillon published his critical review of the empirical literature on reading from paper vs. screen. However, the debate concerning the equivalence of computer- and paper-based tasks continues, especially with the growing interest in online assessment. The current paper reviews the literature over the last 15 years and contrasts the results of these more recent studies with Dillon's findings. It is concluded that total equivalence is not possible to achieve, although developments in computer technology, more sophisticated comparative measures and more positive user attitudes have resulted in a continuing move towards achieving this goal. Many paper-based tasks used for assessment or evaluation have been transferred directly onto computers with little regard for any implications. This paper considers equivalence issues between the media by reviewing performance measures. While equivalence seems impossible, the importance of any differences appears specific to the task and required outcomes.

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    • "Secondly, due to methodological limitations, the results of these studies need to be viewed with caution. Finally, since there are reasons to believe that transferring a scale to an Internet mode may change the instrument (Buchanan, 2001; Buchanan, Johnson, & Goldberg, 2005), the practice of simply adapting a paper and pencil instrument for the Internet mode and assuming that the measurements are equivalent to the original mode is not recommended (Buchanan, 2002; Coles, Cook, & Blake, 2007; Hewson & Charlton, 2005; Noyes & Garland, 2008). This is especially relevant for the MCSDS since responses to SDRS scales have been shown to differ between modes of administration (Dodou & de Winter, 2014; Joinson, 1999; Kaufmann & Reips, 2008; Lautenschlager & Flaherty, 1990; Martin & Nagao, 1989). "
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    ABSTRACT: Internet surveys have become a very popular research tool. Relatively little attention has, however, been devoted to the possible changes in psychometric properties when measurements are obtained with Internet surveys. The Marlowe–Crowne Social Desirability Scale (MCSDS) is the most widely used instrument for measuring the tendency to respond in a socially desirable way and is often used to validate other measures. The purpose of the current research is to evaluate the dimensionality and reliability of measurements obtained with the MCSDS and short forms of the scale in an Internet sample of the general public in Iceland. An e-mail invitation was sent to a sample of 1200 panel members drawn from the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) probability based panel, of those 536 participants completed all items on the MCSDS. Reliability estimates were in line with results from previous studies (a = .81 for the MCSDS data and a ranging from .59 to .75 for short forms). Using confirmatory factor analysis, a good fit was obtained for a one-factor model of measurements obtained with the MCSDS and its short forms (apart from significant chi square values in all cases but one), which generally supports the assumption of unidimensionality.
    Computers in Human Behavior 08/2015; 49:608-615. DOI:10.1016/j.chb.2015.03.044 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    • "In conclusion, it is worthy to note that despite the advantages of a computerized environment and the above presented argumentations, its superiority over printed presentation is still debated. In their review, addressing the equivalency between the two environments, Noyes and Garland [42] concluded that difference in coping with reading activities in the two environments-computerized and printed-resides in the adequacy of each environment to the specific task in hand and its outcome where for a certain task one environment might be superior to the other. "
    7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation; 11/2014
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    • "They can be classified into two categories: device-related [navigation (Mangen et al. 2013), visual fatigue caused by emitting light (Wästlund et al. 2005; Mangen et al. 2013)] and individual differences (cognitive load from the switch between the text media and the test media (Mayes et al. 2001; Noyes and Garland 2008; Mangen et al. 2013) and metacognitive level (Mangen et al. 2013)). "
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    ABSTRACT: Nowadays, reading on screens is an essential part of our daily life. Tablet computers, with great portability, usability, and interactivity, have become a popular mobile device for learning and reading. However, there were few studies to explore the effects on reading using tablet computers, and the difference between computer-based reading and paper-based reading is still not clear. Therefore, this study focused on to investigate the effects of reading comprehension across paper, tablets, and computers. Moreover, the user familiarity was regarded as a potential issue to affect the reading on digital devices. Accordingly, this study took into account to figure out the effects and impacts of the user familiarity on reading comprehension while reading on tablets. Two question types of reading comprehension, multiple choice questions as the shallow level comprehension and summarization as deep level comprehension, were considered to test the reading comprehension. Data from 90 college students were used in the data analysis. It was indicated that the paper group performed significantly better than the computer-based reading on the shallow level comprehension. This finding confirmed and eliminated the factors of reading in paper and computer for the previous studies. For example, the way of navigation was still the main reason to affect the process of reading. However, the switch between the reading and test media was not the reason to affect the reading comprehension. In order to figure out why there was no difference between tablets and the other two media platforms, the tablet familiarity was evaluated to find out whether the familiarity affect reading comprehension or not. The result showed that the high level of tablet familiarity group performed significantly better than low level group on deep level comprehension. For this result, it could conclude that if providing students enough and appropriate training, they could have higher familiarity with tablets and then gain better reading comprehension using tablets.
    11/2014; 1(2-3):213-225. DOI:10.1007/s40692-014-0012-z
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