Readability and Quality of Web-based Information Related to Noise-Induced Hearing Impairment
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Audiology
Aims: The purpose of this study was to assess the readability of online information pertaining to noise-induced hearing impairment (NIHI). This study aimed to answer several research questions: (1) What is the readability of online written information associated with searches related to NIHI? (2) Is the readability of online information significantly higher than the recommended 6th grade levels proposed by many researchers (Cheng & Dunn, 2015; Eloy et al., 2012; McInnes & Haglund, 2011; Misra, Kasabwala, Agarwal, Eloy, & Liu, 2012; Narwani, Nalamada, Lee, Kothari, & Lakhani, 2015; C. R. Patel, Sanghvi, Cherla, Baredes, & Eloy, 2015; Walsh & Volsko, 2008)? (3) Are there significant differences in the readability of NIHI-related online written material from different organisation origins (OOs)? (4) Are there significant differences in the readability of NIHI-related online material from different country origins (COs)? (5) Does webpage origin significantly interact with the presence of a Health On the Net (HON) certificate?
Method: To answer the first four research questions, the researcher used five search terms derived from Google Trends that related to noise NIHI. These search terms were used to identify the first 10 relevant webpages associated with NIHI across 26 different English-language country coded top-level domains from Google. A total of 153 webpages were copied into Microsoft Word documents, which then underwent a readability analysis using Readability Studio (Oleander Software, 2012). To address the final research question, the researcher entered the root web address from each webpage into a HON search where the presence of a HON certification was determined.
Results: The readability of the online information was significantly higher than recommended levels and the presence of a HON certificate was low. Webpages of a commercial origin were found to have significantly better readability than webpages of a governmental origin, across two out of the three readability measures used. There was no significant effect of CO on readability scores. The presence of a HON certificate was not significantly related to OO as per a chi-squared analysis; however, there was a significant interaction between the presence of a HON certificate and CO.