The study addressed to what extent behavioral engagement and textual integration may differ when undergraduate readers work with identical printed versus digital texts in preparation for an exam versus for pleasure. We expected that working with printed texts would lead to greater engagement and better integration than working with digital texts, but that reading purpose would moderate this effect of reading medium because those reading in preparation for an exam would display greater engagement and better integration regardless of reading medium. Results showed interaction effects of reading medium with reading purpose on the behavioral engagement indicators of reading time and the length of the post-reading written products. For reading time, the interaction involved that students used longer time when reading digital and mixed texts for an exam, compared to reading for pleasure, whereas there were no difference between exam and pleasure oriented reading when reading printed texts. For the length of the written responses, students produced more text when reading printed texts for an exam than when reading printed texts for pleasure, whereas there were no differences in text production between reading for an exam and reading for pleasure when reading digital or mixed texts. Finally, there was an indirect effect of reading purpose on textual integration via text production when students read printed texts: students who read printed texts in preparation for an exam produced longer written responses compared to those who read for pleasure and, in turn, gained a more integrated understanding of the issue in question. These results are discussed in terms of the implications they offer and the avenues they suggest for future research.
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