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Study: Women more likely to read textbooks

Study finds gender linked to reading habits

 by Brittany McCall
 published on Tuesday, August 21, 2007

<b>A BOOK ON WHAT?</b>| Book store employee Lorin Muvayestewa helps Jonna Mannion, an undeclared freshman, search for books during the chaotic first day of classes at ASU Monday. /issues/news/701374
Branden Eastwood / THE STATE PRESS
A BOOK ON WHAT?| Book store employee Lorin Muvayestewa helps Jonna Mannion, an undeclared freshman, search for books during the chaotic first day of classes at ASU Monday.


A Y-chromosome separates a man from a woman, and according to a recent study, it could also separate those who use their textbooks from those who don't.

The study, presented at last weekend's American Psychological Association convention in San Francisco, suggested that there are four factors some outside of the control of the professor or the student which determine the likelihood of whether or not a person will crack open his or her textbook.

The factors, taken from survey responses of 230 students at the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, included gender, the quality of the graphics and photos in the textbooks, and the extent to which the professor integrated the textbook into the class.

Of the factors, the study implied that gender had the strongest role and said that women are more likely than men to use their textbooks.

But psychology senior Marcus Scallan said he decides whether to read a textbook based on the class.

"If it's a rigorous lecture, no. I just pay attention a lot, and I don't have to read it," he said. "But some teachers tell you to read it, and some questions are straight from the book."

Stephanie Kreibom, a women and gender studies senior, said she does buy and use all of the required textbooks for her classes.

"Teachers don't assign them for no reason," Kreibom said. "It's obviously for a reason, it helps with the course."

Scallan said he doesn't buy his textbooks until after the first week of school, when he's had a chance to review the syllabuses for his classes and determine the importance of a textbook.

Students not buying some or any textbooks are not entirely uncommon, according to the study authored by Regan Gurung and Ryan Martin, both professors at UW-Greenbay. Data from bookstores across the nation suggest that up to 16 percent of students do not buy at least one textbook, the study cited.

Some professors are combating this trend.

ASU psychology professor Donald Homa said he tests his students on three things during the exam: his lecture, the textbook and journal articles.

"For [the students] to do well, they're going to have to read the textbook and read it carefully to do well on that part of the exam," Homa said.

Homa also disagreed with the notion that gender has a strong bearing on whether a student does well in his course.

"When I do a rank ordering of the best students in the class, I don't get a
disproportionate number," Homa said. "I may have more women doing pretty well, but often the very best students are men."

Although the study stressed that women are more likely to read their textbooks as compared to male students, one student disagreed.

Business freshman Marcus Munoz said there could be another explanation for the study's finding.

"It's probably more just a laziness thing," he said.

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