ERIC Number: ED209642
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Editing for Comprehension: Improving the Process through Reading Protocols.
Swaney, Joyce Hannah; And Others
Editing for clarity is essential in document design, but research suggests that even when used by skilled editors, the standard editing procedures are often limited in their effectiveness. Three experiments were conducted to explore the process of skilled editing in order to understand why it often fails and to determine what can be done to make it more effective. In the first experiment, 24 adults read four documents that had been revised for clarity using standard editing techniques. After reading each document, the subjects completed comprehension tests. The results showed that while three of the documents had been improved by revision, the fourth appeared to have been made worse. In the second experiment, protocols of subjects reading the fourth document were collected in order to pinpoint comprehension difficulties. The document was then revised to reduce the difficulties and administered to 12 new subjects. Comprehension tests from this third experiment revealed that the error rate on the revised version of the document had dropped dramatically. The findings of the experiments suggest that standard editing techniques, even when used by skilled editors, sometimes fail to improve clarity and that reading protocols can provide a powerful editing tool when standard editing techniques fail. (FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC.; Siegel & Gale, Inc., New York, NY.; Carnegie-Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA.