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Further explorations in online, copy and paste note taking: Mixed method evidence for encoding effects associated with imposed levels of restriction

L. Brent Igo, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Copy and paste note taking is an increasingly common student behavior, but it has seen limited investigation in the extant educational research literature. The two components of copy and paste note taking—the selection of information, and then the creation of a record—are related to text underlining and paper and pencil note taking, however, making a great deal of previous research relevant to copy and paste's conceptualization. Essentially, the extant underlining, note taking, and copy and paste research have common themes regarding the encoding of text ideas—that is, the learning of text ideas as they are underlined, noted, or pasted. The encoding of text ideas while students create copy and paste notes previously had been investigated in only one study and with one population of students, however. This study expands the copy and paste literature with two experiments. In Experiment 1, university students who were restricted to pasting seven words per cell of a note-taking chart or who were unrestricted in their pasting, learned more facts, concepts and relationships among ideas from a Web-based text than students who were restricted to pasting 14 or 21 words per cell. Qualitative analyses of notes and of interview data indicated that high achieving students in the 14- and 21-word restriction groups were likely to count words and scroll through the cells of their note-taking charts, which perhaps distracted them from learning the text ideas. Students in the seven-word or unrestricted groups tended did not count words or scroll through the cells, they were not distracted, and consequently, learning was not deterred. ^ Experiment 2 tested students' encoding of text ideas while taking restricted or unrestricted typed notes, or restricted or unrestricted copy and paste notes. Analyses of dependent measures of learning indicated that students performed about the same irrespective of the type of data entry they were permitted to use. In short, students who are selective of the ideas they note may use any of the four types of data entry with similar, positive consequences for encoding and recall. ^

Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Technology of

Recommended Citation

Igo, L. Brent, "Further explorations in online, copy and paste note taking: Mixed method evidence for encoding effects associated with imposed levels of restriction" (2005). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3150695.