Linguistic analysis of plain language summaries and corresponding scientific summaries of Cochrane systematic reviews about oncology interventions

Ref ID 911
First Author J. Suto
Year Of Publishing 2023
Keywords Cochrane
Abstract / summary
Problem(s) Unwieldy/ difficult to read
Inconclusive or lack of recommendations
Weaknesses identified in some Cochrane reviews
Number of systematic reviews included 275
Summary of Findings From 275 plain language summaries of the included Cochrane systematic reviews of oncology interventions available in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews up to Feb 2019. The overall median Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG) index for 275 PLSs was 13.0 (95% confidence interval [CI] 12.8–13.3). Readability scores did not differ across Cochrane Review Groups. Scientific abstracts had a higher readability index than the corresponding Plain Language Summaries (median = 16.6, 95% CI = 16.4–16.8). Regarding linguistic characteristics, Plain Language Summaries were shorter than scientific abstracts, with less use of analytical tone, but more use of a positive emotional tone and authenticity. Overall, the ‘Unclear’ category of conclusiveness was the most common among all Plain Language Summaries.
Did the article find that the problem(s) led to qualitative changes in interpretation of the results? Not Applicable
Are the methods of the article described in enough detail to replicate the study? No