ERIC Number: ED382934
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-May
Reference Count: N/A
Readability Study of Client Health Education Materials: A Resource for Assuring the Effectiveness of Written Materials.
Johnson, Hans H.; And Others
A study assessed the readability of health education pamphlets and booklets distributed to local health department clients in North Carolina through their maternal health, child health, and family planning clinics. The materials analyzed came from various vendors, but excluded materials developed by local and state public health staff. The sample included 424 client-directed materials. Data included frequency of commonly used words, frequency of long words, variety of sentence types, overall length, target population, and content focus. The three main scores used to assess readability were reading level, "mortar" (a ratio of commonly used words to concept words); and an overall rating. Results indicated that: (1) the values for reading level, mortar, and overall rating across all three clinics were very similar; (2) more materials distributed via the maternal health clinics were in line with recommended criteria; (3) materials distributed via family planning clinics fared the best overall; but (4) only 15.4% of all of the materials supplied to local health departments by commercial and not-for-profit vendors met the recommended criteria. Recommendations for improvement include: clearly state the purpose for using the material; achieve a reading level not lower than grade 5.0 or higher than grade 7.9; vary sentence length; define specialized vocabulary; and pretest the pamphlet or booklet with a sample from the target population. (Contains 26 references and 13 tables of data. Appendixes, which constitute more than half the study, present information on all materials analyzed, a list of vendors, a description of the SMOG Readability formula, standard pretest questions, and a discussion of how to determine clients' information.) (RS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: North Carolina State Dept. of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Raleigh.
Identifiers: Health Communication; North Carolina; SMOG Readability Formula