Tools for Assessing Readability and Quality of Health-Related Web Sites
- 489 Downloads
With the Internet becoming a growing source of information on genetics, genetic counselors and other health-care providers may be called upon to guide their patients to appropriate material, which is written at a suitable reading level for the individual and contains quality information. Given that many health-related Web sites are written at a high school or higher reading level, without direction from a genetic counselor or health-care provider, many Internet users may currently be turning to health-related Web sites that they do not understand. Additionally, Internet users may not know how to evaluate the quality of information they find, which could lead to them access inaccurate or irrelevant information. To aid in the process of finding and designing Web sites that are appropriate for patients, the current article provides guidelines for assessing readability and quality of health-related content. Additionally, a demonstration of an assessment is provided. Finally, limitations of these assessments are discussed.
KeywordsWeb sites Internet Readability Quality Health information
- Dale, E., & Chall, J. S. (1995). Readability revised: The new Dale–Chall readability formula. Brookline: Brookline Books.Google Scholar
- Doak, C. C., Doak, L. G., & Root, J. H. (1996). Teaching patients with low literacy skills (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott.Google Scholar
- Fisher, K., Naumer, C., Durrance, J., Stromski, L., & Christiansen, T. (2005). Something old, something new: Preliminary findings from an exploratory study about people’s information habits and information grounds, Information Research, (paper 223).Google Scholar
- Ford, P., Caylor, J., & Sticht, T. (1992). The FORCAST readability formula. Pennsylvania State University Nutrition Center, Bridge to Excellence Conference.Google Scholar
- Fry, E. (1968). A readability formula that saves time. Journal of Reading, nnn, 513–578.Google Scholar
- Gunning, R. (1952). The technique of clear writing. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- Hochhauser, M. (2002). The effects of HIPAA on research consent forms. Patient Care Management, 17, 6–7.Google Scholar
- Kincaid, J. P., Fishburne, R. P., Robers, R. L., & Chissom, B. S. (1975). (No. 8–75). Memphis, TN: Naval Air Station: Research Branch Report.Google Scholar
- Mclaughlin, G. H. (1969). Smog grading—a new readability formula. Journal of Reading, 12, 639–646.Google Scholar
- Meric, F., Bernstam, E. V., Mirza, N. Q., Hunt, K. K., Ames, F. C., Ross, M. I., et al. (2002). Breast cancer on the world wide web: Cross sectional survey of quality of information and popularity of websites. British Medical Journal, 324, 577–581. doi: 10.1136/bmj.324.7337.577.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- National Society of Genetic Counselors.(2008). FAQs about genetic counselors and the NSGC. Retrieved February 25, 2008, from http://www.nsgc.org/about/faq.cfm.
- Pew Internet and American Life Project.(2006). Online health search 2006. Retrieved February 25, 2008, from http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_online_Health_2006.pdf.
- Raygor, A. L. (1977). The Raygor readability estimate: A quick and easy way to determine difficulty. In P. D. Pearson (Ed.), Reading: Theory, practice, and research (pp. 259–263). Clemson: National Reading Conference.Google Scholar
- Redish, J. C., & Selzer, J. (1985). The place of readability formulas in technical communication. Technical Communication, 32, 46–52.Google Scholar
- Resta, R., Biesecker, B. B., Bennett, R. L., Blum, S., Estabrooks Hahn, S., Strecker, M. N., et al. (2006). A new definition of genetic counseling: National Society of Genetic Counselors’ task force report. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 15, 77–83. doi: 10.1007/s10897-005-9014-3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Seidman, J. J., Steinwachs, D., & Rubin, H. R. (2003). Design and testing of a tool for evaluating the quality of diabetes consumer-information web sites. Journal of Medical Internet Research, nnn, 5.Google Scholar
- Smith, E. A., & Senter, R. J. (1967). Automated readability index. AMRL-TR (6570th Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory), nnn, 1–14.Google Scholar
- Spache, G. (1974). Good reading for poor readers. Champaign, IL: Garrard.Google Scholar
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2000). Health people 2010: Understanding and improving health. Retrieved February 1, 2008, from http://www.health.gov/healthypeople/Document/HTML/Volume1/Opening.html.
- Weiss, B. D. (1998). Communicating with patients who have limited literacy skills: Report of the national work group on literacy and health. The Journal of Family Practice, 46, 168–176.Google Scholar