Qualitative and Quantitative Examination of Text Type Readabilities: A Comparative Analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Authors

Iran University of Science and Technology

Abstract

This study compared 2 main approaches to readability assessment. The
quantitative approach applied idea density based on part of speech tagging and
compared 3 sets of text types (i.e., narrative, expository, and argumentative) with
respect to their ease of reading. The qualitative approach was done through
developing questionnaires measuring intermediate EFL learners’ perceptions on
content, motivation, quality of language, and format of the same text types. The
quantitative results indicated significant differences between narrative and
argumentative as well as between narrative and expository text types in terms of
idea density. In other words, argumentative and expository texts were more readable
than narrative ones. Significantly, higher perceived readability for argumentative
and lower perceived easiness of expository texts were reported by the participants.
It was found that the argumentative texts are more readable than their narrative
counterparts. This finding was supported by both qualitative and quantitative
approaches to readability assessment. The results indicate that there needs to be a
reconsideration of different readability approaches in the selection of texts for their
intended readers. Implications for writing instruction and research on readability
will be discussed.

Keywords