Yet another piece of research that’s supposed to show that the internet is making us dumb. Or something like that.
A recent study in the International Journal of Business Administration looked at MBA students at the University of Florida to determine how reading habits shape writing ability. Scientists analyzed writing samples from student cover letters, which were believed to be the most telling form of a student’s best writing — no one wants to make a bad impression on a cover letter — to determine complexity and style.
The study found students who consume primarily digital content (such as Reddit and Buzzfeed) had the lowest writing complexity scores, while those who often read literature and academic journals had the highest levels of writing complexity.
I haven’t read the actual study (why bother when websites like this one will summarize everything I need to know into a short, clickbait headline?), but I wonder if the researchers are really claiming a direct connection between reading mostly digital material and lower writing skills.
Or could it be that the content in this situation is more important than the format? That people who read more complex content learn to create more complex writing?
But then I’ve never been much of an academic so I could be wrong.