User Feedback on Plain Language Summaries A Qualitative Study in a German General Population Sample

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Published Apr 19, 2024
Marlene Stoll https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8847-5497 Michelle Bähr Eva Becker Martin Kerwer https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0735-5165 Gesa Benz Mark René Jonas https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6701-0172 Anita Chasiotis https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4103-5018

Abstract

Plain Language Summaries (PLSs) describe scientific studies in a lay friendly way. This study investigates user feedback on PLSs based on a conceptual PLS framework. Our aim was to explore the users’ perspective on PLSs and to verify whether the topics named by users correspond to the categories of the conceptual framework. In an online study, we presented German PLSs of psychological studies to participants. They were asked for their feedback in three open questions. We received 2032 responses from 1098 participants, which were coded by two raters based on the conceptual framework. Participants had homogeneous views on some topics (e.g., the content of the PLSs). These results provide direct indications for users’ expectations towards PLSs. We observed diverging views on other topics (e.g., text length). These results indicate different needs among users. We conclude that a good fit between PLS and target group is important. The presentation of PLSs should allow users to choose information according to their needs. Finally, not all of the framework’s categories were mentioned by the participants. Implications of this finding are discussed.

How to Cite

Stoll, Marlene, Michelle Bähr, Eva Becker, Martin Kerwer, Gesa Benz, Mark René Jonas, and Anita Chasiotis. 2024. “User Feedback on Plain Language Summaries: A Qualitative Study in a German General Population Sample”. Fachsprache 46 (1-2):40-61. https://doi.org/10.24989/fs.v46i1-2.2244.
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Keywords

plain language, science communication, lay-friendliness, evidence summaries

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