Searching for information on-line and off-line: Gender differences among middle school students

Marguerite Roy, Roger Taylor, Michelene T.H. Chi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


There has been a national call for increased use of computers and technology in schools. Currently, however, little is known about how students use and learn from these new technologies. This study examines how students search for, browse, and learn specific information when performing an on-line (Web) versus an off-line (Library) search. Twenty-eight eighth grade students between the ages of 13 and 14 were randomly assigned to one of the two search conditions (Web or Library), each balanced by gender. All participants significantly improved their knowledge of the target question ("How do mosquitoes find their prey?") from pre-test to post-test. The Web was superior to the Library in supporting students search for target-specific information. There was an interaction in which boys in the Web condition learned more target-specific and target-related information than the girls. Several related findings are explored which may help explain this result.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-252
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Educational Computing Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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