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Mixed-Methods Evidence of Study Barriers

Study it carefully and answer clearly and in your own words the following questions:

What is the Problem statement or the question to be answered presented in the article?

What are the sub problems stated in the article?

What is the significance of the research study?

What is the research and null hypotheses regarding the problem and sub problems presented in the article?

What is the research methodology used in the article to analyze the problem (what is the sampling procedure used, what data is collected, what analysis of the data is used)?

How the authors presented the literature review of previous work? And how they compared to their work?

What are the conclusions derived?

How the authors presented the references?

RMLE Online—
Volume 33, No. 2
© 2009 National Middle School Association
anticipation of one particular challenge, researchers
have begun to identify effective Internet note-taking
techniques (see e.g., Igo, Bruning, & McCrudden,
2005a; Igo, Riccomini, Bruning, & Pope, 2006;
Pardini, Domizi, Forbes, & Pettis, 2005). To date, the
vast majority of the extant research has focused on
high school and college students in general education
settings. Because educational practitioners must make
critical decisions regarding how Internet technologies
are used within middle schools (Consortium for
School Networking, 2006), the present study sought
to explore Internet note taking with middle school
students who are learning disabled, mildly mentally
retarded, or from the general education population but
who need reading support.
Note Taking and the Internet
Taking notes is a common student behavior in
academic settings (Kobayashi, 2005). However,
students’ note-taking strategies vary, with better
learning being associated with students who are
better note takers (Peverly, Brobst, Graham, &
Shaw, 2003). Most students’ default note-taking
strategies can be categorized on the ineffective end
of this continuum. For instance, many students fail
to process ideas deeply as they take notes (Igo et al.,
2005a). Creating an incomplete set of notes also is a
typical problem for students (Kiewra, 1985, 1989).
For no other population are these flaws more evident
than for middle school students, whose inexperience
with note taking compounds the inadequacies of their
note-taking approaches (Rinehart & Thomas, 1993).
Recent middle school research has documented this
phenomenon with general education students (Brown,
2005) and students with learning disabilities (Igo et
al., 2006).
For middle school students with learning disabilities
(MSSLD), there may be even more problems
associated with note taking. In addition to being
novice note takers, MSSLD (in grades six, seven,
and eight) can experience pressure and distraction
stemming from spelling and grammar monitoring as
they take notes (Igo et al., 2006; Hughes & Smith,
1990; Poteet, 1979). Further, creating a legible and
comprehensible set of notes might be difficult. For
example, the legibility of students’ handwriting seems
to plateau during the early middle grades (fifth and
sixth) and plummet during the remainder of middle
school (Graham, Beringer, & Weintraub, 1998;
Graham, Weintraub, Beringer, & Shafer, 1998). In
fact, many
students with learning disabilities
struggle to create comprehensible and legible notes
(e.g., Mortimore & Crozier, 2006; Smith, 1993;
Suritsky, 1992), creating the potential for MSSLD to
struggle with these same barriers.
The popularity of using the Internet to gather
information, coupled with the aforementioned
problems associated with student approaches to note
taking, led Igo, Riccomini, and Bruning (2006) to
ask a basic research question: How should MSSLD
approach note taking when they gather information
from Internet sources? Their subsequent study
attempted to find an answer. Each of 15 MSSLD were
assigned to take notes in three ways (type, paste,
and write) from an Internet source. Immediate and
delayed measures of learning indicated that students
could recall little of the information they had noted,
irrespective of note-taking style. Follow-up interviews
with the students revealed more enlightening
data. The students described typing notes as an
especially unnerving task, attributing it to a troubling
degree of anxiety. They described attempting to
monitor spelling and searching the keyboard for the
appropriate letter keys while typing notes. Further, an
analysis of students’ notes showed that when students
wrote or typed their notes, they did so in verbatim
fashion, which has been linked to shallow mental
processing. When the students attempted to type or
write paraphrase notes, however, they tended to omit
certain important details from the text. Subsequently,
their paraphrase notes often were incomplete.
In short, typing notes was too anxiety provoking, and
writing notes yielded inferior sets of notes. Igo and
colleagues (2006) thus concluded their study with a
recommendation that MSSLD be instructed to use
the copy and paste method to gather notes from the
Internet. Based on the results obtained from their
data, this instructional advice might seem reasonable.
On the other hand, particular aspects of their study’s
design necessitate further investigation before any
instructional implications could be considered valid in
actual school settings. For example, only 15 students
participated in that particular study. Second, only
students with learning disabilities participated in that
study; the findings might not be relevant to teachers
of students who display several kinds of learning
problems. Finally, students were not permitted to
study their notes before delayed measures of learning
were administered. In developing generalizations
about school-based learning, the study of notes
should be considered a vital part of note learning and,
therefore, included in an investigation.

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