I distinctly remember that during my senior thesis, and the first few years in grad school - I couldn't read and think, off a computer screen at all. Writing was even harder, and I used to write stuff down on paper before composing a serious document.
Any technical paper, I had to download, print, and scribble on to really digest.
Here are articles from the Boston Globe and a University of Florida website which support the thesis that reading from paper is better. The latter website claims reading paper is 20-30% faster, more accurate (in terms of the ability to identify grammatical and typographic errors), and less taxing on the eyes.
But things change.
Personally I can now read much better off a screen. With a high-resolution monitor, I prefer it. My main reasons are the following:
- place my paper online, and read it from any computer.
- "Go Green"
- read and create color documents at no additional cost
- follow hyperlinks
- organizing/searching papers is easier
- search for a word in a long document
Indeed, a not-so-new paper cited at the end claims that paper and on-screen reading have now become equivalent.
Something that my own experience mirrors.
Harrison, B, ‘E-Books and the Future of Reading’, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, Volume 20 , Issue 3 (May 2000) , pp. 32 - 39.