American Medical Writers Association

Indiana Chapter

Beyond readability formulas: An interesting free text-analysis tool

The University of Memphis has created an interesting free text-analysis tool called Coh-Metrix. The tool analyzes over a hundred dimensions of content and provides scores for attributes such as narrativity, syntactic simplicity or complexity, word concreteness or abstractness, and deep cohesion. Registration is required to access the tool.

At the national AMWA conference in October, Art Graesser, a professor of psychology at U of M's Institute for Intelligent Systems, gave a presentation on Coh-Metrix titled "Computer Analyses of Medical Documents through Coh-Metrix."

For writers who want to analyze texts, Coh-Metrix provides a more sophisticated method than standard readability scales, which often look at only sentence and word length.

Coh-Metrix is probably more sophisticated than the average writer needs, with its four versions (Coh-Metrix Web Tool, Coh-Metrix Text Easability Assessor, Coh-Metrix Common Core T.E.R.A., and Coh-Metrix Web Tool for traditional Chinese) and the 100+ scores it generates for the various dimensions of texts, but the basic tool provides a quick and easy way to assess narrativity and cohesion. And if you want a standard readability score as measured by established readability formulas, Coh-Metrix does that too.

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