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The effect of format on performance: Editing text in print versus digital formats


  • Sigal Eden,

  • Yoram Eshet-Alkalai

Address for correspondence: Dr Sigal Eden, Department of Education, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan 52900, Israel. Email:


In light of the present-day proliferation of digital texts and the increase in situations that require active digital text reading in learning, it is becoming increasingly important to shed light on the comparison between print and digital reading under active reading conditions. In this study, the active reading abilities of 93 university students (83% females) were examined. Participants were asked to read, edit, recognize errors and improve the quality of short papers (600 words each) on the topic of environmental awareness, in both print and in digital formats. Surprisingly, and in contrast to many recent reports about print versus digital reading, no significant differences were found between the performances of participants in the two formats. Similarly, no significant differences were found for all categories of text errors as well as for gender. It was found that the digital readers completed their tasks faster than the print readers but their performance was not lower. Results of this study have important implications for the current debate in higher education concerning the use of digital text for learning and for designing, reviewing and editing academic works.