The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

1997 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

READING LEVELS OF SIX MEDICAL AND ALLIED HEALTH JOURNALS,

David W. Chang, EdD, RRT, Columbus State University, Columbus, Georgia

INTRODUCTION: The selection and use of medical and allied health journals by RCP and RC students may be related to the reading level of the journals. METHOD: The Flesch-Kincaid Readability Index (FKRI) was used to analyze the reading levels of six journals that publish articles related to respiratory care. The FKRI was used because it accounts for the average number of words per sentence (WPS) and syllables per word (SPW) in the article. The WPS and SPW are important contributing factors of the readability of written materials such as medical and technical writings. The FKRI is a validated instrument for the assessment of readability when it is used to analyze writing samples of 100 words or more. From each of these six journals published since January 1997, three articles were selected in random and paragraph(s) of at least 100 words were used for the analysis and calculation of the FKRI for each article. The reading level was calculated by using the FKRI formula: Reading Grade Level = (0.39)(WPS) + (11.8)(SPW) - 15.59. Results: The FKRI's for the 18 articles analyzed in this study are summarized in the table below:

Journal (Article #) (1) (2) (3) Average

FKRI

Am J Respir Crit Care Med 14 14 16 15

Chest 19 17 14 17

Crit Care Med 20 15 15 17

Heart & Lung 14 15 15 15

JAMA 17 15 22 18

Respir Care 15 14 12 14

Conclusions: The selected journal articles represent an extreme wide range of reading levels (from grade 12 to grade 22), RC educators may want to evaluate the journal articles prior to formulating a plan for student use (e.g., selection of appropriate articles, group discussion, independent reading assignment).

OF-97-159

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