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. Apr-Jun 2008;25(2):73-90.
doi: 10.1080/07370010802017083.

Printed Health Information Materials: Evaluation of Readability and Suitability

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Printed Health Information Materials: Evaluation of Readability and Suitability

Carol Shieh et al. J Community Health Nurs. .

Abstract

This study examined readability and suitability of printed health information materials colleted from multiple sources. In phase I, nursing students used Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG; McLaughlin, 1969) to assess the readability of 21 materials collected from the community. In phases II and III, nursing students and registered nurses used SMOG and the Suitability Assessment of Materials (SAM; Doak, Doak, & Root, 1996) to evaluate 15 prenatal materials from a Healthy Start program. SMOG assigns a reading grade level based on the number of words with 3 or more syllables. SAM has 22 items in 6 evaluation areas: content, literacy demand, graphics, layout and typography, learning stimulation and motivation, and cultural appropriateness. Major findings included that 53% to 86% of the printed materials had a reading level at or higher than 9th grade; materials lacked summary, interaction, and modeled behaviors, and registered nurses rated more materials as not suitable and fewer as superior for suitability qualities than students. Improving printed materials to have lower reading levels and better suitability qualities are indicated.

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