Saturday, November 23, 2013

Keyboarding versus Handwriting, Quantified

Here is a summary of a study that tried to measure the difference between handwriting and keyboarding. The most surprising findings are right at the top:
  • "The computer writers took half as much time to write the first draft than pen and paper writers" (2).
  • "The computer writers had a more fragmented writing process than the pen and paper writers" (3).
The explanation seems simple. It is found in the fourth observation: "Computer writers made 80% of the revisions in their first draft, as compared to pen and paper writers, who made only 50% of revisions in the first draft."

In other words, a first draft on the computer is edited more than the one on paper. Whether that means it is more polished is, of course, a different story.

In any case, I think such studies are more useful for studying handwriting versus keyboarding than the anecdotal evidence provided by writers themselves—no matter how famous.

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