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Describe the Note Taking and Memory in Laboratory Settings.

Abstract

There are many note-taking methods which people practice today. A research was carried to analyze handwriting and typing methods of note taking to see their effects on the memory of those who take note. It was hypothesized that handwriting note-taking method is better and improves the memory of those take notes more than the typing method. To prove this hypothesis right or wrong, 300 participants were selected randomly to participate in research which aimed to study the better method in terms of enhancing the memories of those who take notes using these two methods. The research proved this hypothesis right where the mean memory score of the participants who used the handwriting method was higher (16.09) than the mean memory score of those who used the typing method (13.25). Therefore, we can say that the handwriting method is a better method in terms of improving the memory of the participants than the typing method.

Many are the times when we find ourselves taking some notes in different settings. The way we take our notes highly determines how we’ll understand them and how the notes will be retained in our memories (Gillies, 2017). Some people prefer taking notes by handwriting the notes in their books while others prefer typing the notes to their computers or other electronic gadgets. The method we use to take our notes has a great impact on our understanding of the notes, and therefore, it’s very important for us to chose the method which best suits us for an improved recall of the notes (Bui, Myerson, and Hale, 2013, pp.299-309).

Broad research has been done to determine how the method we use to take notes affects our understanding of the notes. Most of the researchers who have been involved in this research agree that our understanding and ability to recall the notes we take are highly dependent on the method we chose to take these notes (Thorley, Baxter, and Lorek, 2016, pp.560-574). Each of the different note-taking methods has some strengths and some weaknesses, and therefore, it’s very important to consider these strengths and weaknesses before we choose a specific method to use in note-taking. Also, we should always choose the best method which is convenient for us, and which we’ll use comfortably without much struggle.

In this paper, we shall analyze how the method of taking notes affects the memory of the notes taken. Our study will be based in a laboratory settings, and we’ll focus on two major methods of note taking, which are, typing of notes and handwriting the notes. We shall have 300 participants in the study, where 150 participants will type the notes, and the other 150 will handwrite the notes. The main aim of this research is to compare the two methods of note taking to see their impact on the memory of the people who use them. This research is important as it will help us to understand the better method of the two note taking methods. It was hypothesised that the handwriting method of note taking is the better method as it demonstrates a better memory than the typing method.

Note Taking and Memory in Laboratory Settings

We had 300 participants who participated in this study, and out the 300 participants 40% were males, and 60% were females. The mean age of all the participants was 27.98 years (SD=15.12), and the age range was 18 to 70 years. Of the 300 participants, 150 participants used handwriting method of note taking while the remaining 150 used typing method of note-taking. Of the 150 participants who used handwriting method, the mean memory score was 13.25 (SD=2.31), and the range of the scores was 7 to 15. Of the 150 participants who used the typing method, the mean memory score was 16.09 (SD=2.39), and the range of the memory scores was 11 to 18.

Our study was a descriptive research design where we used the survey method to collect the required data (Tourangeau, 2018, pp.43-50). The main variables of our study were the handwriting note-taking method and typing note-taking method which helped us to get the scores of the participants who used either of these two methods.

The main materials which were used in the research were a projector and a screen where the participants watched a TED Talk, some computers where some of the participants were supposed to type their notes, some writing materials where some of the participants were supposed to handwrite their notes, some other hardcopy question papers which had different information and different questions to be answered by the participants, and other materials which were used by the assistant researcher to record the results of the participants.

The study was conducted in a laboratory on USC Sippy Downs campus where all the 300 participants were supposed to meet with the assistant researcher individually. Each of the participants met with the assistant researcher individually (one at a time), and the assistant researcher read a prepared script which gave a brief overview of what was supposed to happen. The assistant researcher also answered all the questions of the participants and made any clarifications which were left unclear to the participants. The assistant researcher then put on a projector and screen where the participants were supposed to watch a TED Talk individually and then make some notes of what they heard either by handwriting or by typing on a word processing program of a computer. At the end of the TED Talk, the participants who were using handwriting method submitted their notes to the assistant researcher and those who typed their notes saved their notes in the computers and closed the computers.

Method

The participants were then asked two complete two demographic questions about their age and gender, where those who were typing were given the questions in electronic format, and those who were handwriting were given the questions in hardcopy form. After answering these questions, the participants were given 500 mathematical questions where they were supposed to answer as many questions as they could in 15 minutes. The participants were then given 20 questions (each question worth 1 mark) testing what was covered in the TED Talk. This memory took an average of about 30 minutes. At the end of the study, the participants were allowed to ask any questions they wanted and were then thanked for taking part in the study. This procedure was very effective and helped us to get the results we desire to get to achieve the aims of the study.

The marks given in this study were based on the ability to remember what was covered in the TED Talk where each correct answer was awarded 1 mark. The maximum possible mark for the participants was 20 since we had 20 questions which tested the ability to remember what was covered in TED Talk. The results of the participants (who used the handwriting method and those who used the typing method) are shown in the table below:

A table of the results obtained in the study

Note-taking                         M                       SD                  Minimum             Maximum

Handwritten                        16.09                  2.39                     11                          18

Typed                                  13.25                 2.31                        7                           15

As shown in the table above, the average scores of the participants who used the handwriting method were higher than the scores of the participants who typed their notes. The spread of the scores (standard deviation) was almost similar in both groups of participants. The results also show that the handwriting group of participants had a higher minimum and maximum scores compared to the participants who used the typing method. When testing the hypothesis, we used an alpha level of 0.05 in the statistical analysis, and the t-test was significant with the group which used handwriting method demonstrating a better memory than the group which used typing method, t(298)=2.45, p=0.019.

The results we found from the study truly supports our hypothesis that ‘handwriting method of note taking is the better method as it demonstrates a better memory than the typing method.’ In real sense, handwriting is a better method of note taking when compared to typing since when handwriting the notes, the person handwriting the notes has to be very keen to have a good understanding and interpretation of what he/she hears to replicate it in his/her writing paper (Shibata and Omura, 2017). Research has shown that handwriting is more demanding than typing and requires people to use both logic and their brains accordingly for them to interpret and write exactly what they hear (Frangou, 2016). Also, typing has been found to aid the people who type in a way since the computers have some special software which help to predicts some words for the typists and others which correct the spellings of some words (Dunne, Grant, Greenberger, and Hewitt, 2018).  This kind of ‘assistance’ is absent in handwriting, which means when handwriting you must entirely depend on your memory to remember all the words and write the correct spellings of the words. This means the people used to handwrite their notes will always have a good memory compared to those used to typing (Mangen, Anda, Oxborough, and Brønnick, 2015, pp.3-7).

Participants

This study is very important as it helps us to compare and understand these two note taking methods in details. This knowledge is important to us as students as it will guide us whenever we find ourselves in a situation where we are supposed to use either of the two methods in taking some notes (Davis, 2015). As students, we get ourselves in many places where we are supposed to take some notes, and with a good understanding of the best method to use to take the notes is very important as we’ll use this method to take the notes.

We can conclude our study by saying that handwriting is a better method of note taking than typing and we should always choose this method whenever we meet ourselves in a situation of choosing either of the two methods (Stacy and Cain, 2015, pp.107-110). Although both note-taking methods showed some good average memory scores, the scores of the handwriting method were relatively higher than those of the typing method, which means if we want to remember more details after taking some notes, we should always use our hands to handwrite the notes.

References

Bui, Myerson, and Hale. (2013). Note-taking with computers: exploring alternative strategies for
improved recall, Journal of Educational Psychology, 105, 2, 299-309.

Davis, J. (2015). Note Taking: Teaching Students Strategies for Success. CRC Press

Dunne, J., Grant, R. H., Greenberger, J. A., & Hewitt, T. L. (2018). U.S. Patent Application No. 15/844,196.

Frangou, S. M. (2016). The power of writing hands: logical memory performance after handwriting and typing tasks with Wechsler Memory Scale-revised edition (Master's thesis, fi= Lapin yliopisto| en= University of Lapland|).

Gillies, A. (2017). Note-taking for consecutive interpreting: a short course. Routledge.

Mangen, A., Anda, L. G., Oxborough, G. H., & Brønnick, K. (2015). Handwriting versus keyboard writing: effect on word recall. Journal of writing research, 7(2), pp.3-7.

Shibata, H., & Omura, K. (2017). Cognitive loads of handwriting and typing: The impact of memorization in a dual-task method. In Proceedings of the 25th International Display Workshops (IDW'17). Fukuoka, Japan.

Stacy, E. M., & Cain, J. (2015). Note-taking and handouts in the digital age. American journal of pharmaceutical education, 79(7), 107-110.

Thorley, Baxter, and Lorek. (2016). The impact of note-taking style and note availability at retrieval on mock jurors’ recall and recognition of trial information, Memory, 24, 4, 560-574.

Tourangeau, R. (2018). Choosing a Mode of Survey Data Collection. In The Palgrave Handbook of Survey Research (pp. 43-50). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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