Research Proposal

University is a place of endless decisions, opportunities and resources. Meaning that for every person, the so called ‘student experience’ is different. How one chooses to get to University, what clubs they choose to join and even where one even eats, are decisions that vary for everyone. For me personally one decision that I have made regarding my individual student experience is how I choose to take notes. For me this is with pen and paper. This personal preference is simply from the many years at school I spent hand writing notes for every class. As technology has become very necessary both in the classroom and out of, I have noticed that not only in lectures but in tutorials I am one of (if the only) student that is taking the time to write out their note, instead of typing them. Why is this?

My decision to write notes has both positives and negatives.

  1. Books are heavy to cary around all day, especially if I have more than one subject on.
  2.  Most lecture slides change too fast that I cannot simply keep up and end up missing some information, which I then have to go back later and catch up on.
  3. My first semester of University I attempted to type my notes and not only found myself not listening to what the lecturer was saying, but I was more easily distracted with what else I could do on my laptop.
  4. I still carry around my laptop because there is a chance throughout the day I will have to use it in a tutorial.

This leads me to the question “Is typing or writing lecture notes more effective?”

After some research regarding my question from 3 secondary sources, as I suspected there are journal articles showing information regarding both sides of the note taking methods. All 3 articles that I have chosen show somewhat of a subjective approach to the topic. This was my decision as I want to be able to understand why someone may chose one method over the other. Even though I type, I do not wish for my preference to interfere with my research.

Journal article 1 titled ‘Laptop versus longhand note taking: effects on lecture notes and achievement‘ by Linlin Luo, touches on both aspects of my proposed question. Through a study untaken regarding which method was better the results showed that laptop users took more notes as well as was a more functional method compared to writing. On the other hand users took more visual notes and had a better product function. The outcome proposes that the method of note taking depends on not only if the student will revise the notes but also what the lecture is on.

Journal article 2 titled ‘A comparative study of handwriting and computer typing in note taking by university students’ by Dr. Estíbaliz Aragón-Mendizába explores the advantages and disadvantages to both note taking methods. Through a study of 251 students, 211 who took notes by hand and 40 who typed on their computer. The results found that students that had handwritten their notes were able to recall information. Students that used their computers were able to take down more notes.

Journal article 3 titled ‘The pen is mighter than the keyboard: Advantages of longhand over laptop note taking’  by Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M. Oppenheimer enquire into which method researchers have found to be the most successful. Studies have found that note takers are able to not only process what they are writing and therefore recall it more easily compared to laptop users who were less efficient. Through two studies the results concluded that laptop use was showing negative impacts for educational learning.

For my research I will be asking students of BCM212 a number of questions to understand why they use the note taking method that they do. By being able to gather both qualitative ( smaller number of in-depth responses) through interviews with my peers, as well as quantitative information (numbers and statistics) through an online survey I create, my goal is to be able to gain a deeper understanding for my research topic. In my personal opinion this is a relevant topic because a majority of students are taking notes on their laptop compared to typing them, and since I am a student that writes I wish to know if I am simply missing out on a more efficient way to take notes. My research will be achievable as I currently spend 3 of 5 days at University which will give me plenty of time to interview and survey students in my subject. Between now and week 13 I will work each week to gather pieces of my assignment to by the end group it together as a whole.

I am excited to get to know my peers just that little bit more by understanding which method of note taking they prefer and why.



Aragón-Mendizábal, E., Delgado-Casas, C., Navarro-Guzmán, J., Menacho-Jiménez, I. and Romero-Oliva, M. (2016). A Comparative Study of Handwriting and Computer Typing in Note-taking by University Students. Comunicar, 24(48), pp.101-107.

Corrigendum: The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking. (2018). Psychological Science, [online] 29(9), pp.1565-1568. Available at: [Accessed 16 Mar. 2019].

Luo, L., Kiewra, K., Flanigan, A. and Peteranetz, M. (2018). Laptop versus longhand note taking: effects on lecture notes and achievement. Instructional Science, 46(6), pp.947-971.

Website Built with

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: