Research Summary: Readability of the Written Study Information in Pediatric Research in France



The aim was to evaluate the readability of research information leaflets (RIL) for minors asked to participate in biomedical research studies and to assess the factors influencing this readability.

Methods and Findings

All the pediatric protocols from three French pediatric clinical research units were included (N = 104). Three criteria were used to evaluate readability: length of the text, Flesch’s readability score and presence of illustrations. We compared the readability of RIL to texts specifically written for children (school textbooks, school exams or extracts from literary works). We assessed the effect of protocol characteristics on readability. The RIL had a median length of 608 words [350 words, 25th percentile; 1005 words, 75th percentile], corresponding to two pages. The readability of the RIL, with a median Flesch score of 40 [30; 47], was much poorer than that of pediatric reference texts, with a Flesch score of 67 [60; 73]. A small proportion of RIL (13/91; 14%) were illustrated. The RIL were longer (p<0.001), more readable (p<0.001) and more likely to be illustrated (p<0.009) for industrial than for institutional sponsors.


Researchers should routinely compute the reading ease of study information sheets and make greater efforts to improve the readability of written documents for potential participants.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 6-April-2011

Author(s): Ménoni V., Lucas N., Leforestier J., Doz F., Chatellier G., Jacqz-Aigain E., Giraud C., Tréluyer J., Chappuy H.


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