Style, Understanding, and Memory-
- Bailin, Alan and Ann Grafstein. “The Linguistic Assumptions Underlying Readability Formulae: A Critique.” Language and Communications, Volume 21, Issue 3, July 2001, pp 285-301.
This article critiques readability formulae such as the Flesch formula, the Dale-Chall formula, and the FOG formula. The authors recognize these formulas as failing to offer scientific proof of enhancing readers’ comprehension of texts. The authors outline the major issues presenting by readability formulas and indicate what criteria technical writers should instead consider when writing for audiences. Such criteria include grammar, syntactic complexity and style, background knowledge, and textual coherence.
- Florax, Mareike, and Rolf Ploetzner, “What Contributes to the Split-Attention Effect? The Role of Text Segmentation, Picture Labeling, and Spatial Proximity.” Learning and Instruction, Volume 20, Issue 3, June 2010, pp. 216-224.
This article discusses the influence that format can have on a reader’s comprehension of a text. It contains a study in which 165 students from two different universities in the United Kingdom, between the ages of 18 and 31, were participants in an experiment concerning formatting techniques. The results of the experiment shot that text segmentation and picture labeling did in fact enhance the learning of the participants.
- Garbutt, Ruth. “Is There a Place Within Academic Journals for Articles Presented in an Accessible Format?” Disability and Society, Volume 24, Issue 3, May 2009. pp 357-371.
This article discusses the definition of an accessible text in relation to readers with learning and mental disorders. It suggests an increased accessibility of articles and other texts by means of visual presentation and inclusion of images. The author sites evidence on plain language as indicated Jean Ross’s article “Hey, I can read that! Perspectives on plain language and people with development disabilities.”
- Moravcsik, Julia E, and Walter Kintsch. “Writing Quality, Reading Skills, and Domain Knowledge as Factors in Text Comprehension.” Canadian Journal of Experimental Pscyhology, 1993, Volume 47, Issue 2. pp 360-374.
This article discusses an experiment in which subjects listened to and recalled three passages and also completed a reading comprehension test. The conclusion indicates how good writing and domain knowledge affect comprehension.
- Petterson, Timothy. “How Readable are the Hospital Information Leaflets Available To Elderly Patients?” Age and Ageing, Issue 23, Number 1, January 1994. pp 14-17.
This article presents a case study on the readability of hospital information leaflets that are provided to elderly patients. The experiment assessed the readability of leaflets in terms of clarity of language and layout.
- Redish, C. Janice, and Jack Selzer. “The Readability Formulas in Technical Communication.” Technical Communication, Fourth Quarters, 1985. pp 1-7.
This article provides a critique of several readability formulas such as the Flesch Reading Ease Scale, the Gunning Fog Index, the Dale-Chall formula, the FORCAST formula, and the Navy’s revision of the Flesch formula. Redish and Selzer include and expand on several experiments that disprove the effectiveness of readability formulas in reader comprehension. The article ends with a proposal for user-centered testing rather than a continued use of readability formulas.