Comparing learning logs and note summaries in a dental research methods course.

E. Knoff, J. D. Rugh, J. H. Littlefield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports a study that examines how two types of writing influenced dental students' performance in critical thinking and recall in a graduate research methods course. Forty-five students in this five-week, lecture-based course were stratified by dental specialty and randomly assigned to one of two groups. The treatment group kept learning logs, expressing personal understanding of lecture material; a second group wrote note summaries, entailing the reorganization of key lecture points. Each student was asked to write for a ten-minute interval during each class meeting. Mean scores for the log writers were higher on a post-course essay measure of critical analysis; note summarizers performed better on recall; while in the direction predicted, differences did not reach statistical significance. Note summarizers' attitude toward future use of their activity in other classrooms was more positive and they complied more highly with their activity than did the log writers. This preference for the note summary method suggests that students may find the structured nature of the summary more useful when being introduced to a dental concept.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)724-729
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Dentistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparing learning logs and note summaries in a dental research methods course.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this