Readability and Coherence of Department/Ministry of Health HPV Information

  • Kurt Lomas Tulsieram
  • Jose Frank Arocha
  • Joon Lee



Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a prime factor in the development of many cancers and genital warts in Canada. A majority of sexually active Canadians are likely to have an HPV infection during their lifetime. Information provided online by each specific provincial department/ministry of health in regard to HPV and vaccination may not be at an ideal standard for the lay population to understand and should be evaluated.


The purpose of this study is to assess the readability and coherence of provincial department/ministry of health HPV information to determine if it is adequate for the Canadian lay population to understand.

Methods and Results

Seven of ten Canadian provincial department/ministry of health’s HPV information websites were evaluated for readability and coherence. The readability tools Gunning-Fog index and Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG) both found that approximately 60 % of the population for each of the provinces evaluated may be able to understand the information. The coherence measures of latent semantic analysis (LSA) and computerized propositional idea density rater (CPIDR) both concluded that relative to the benchmark that represents the lay population, the coherence level is not appropriate (LSA, p < 0.001and CPIDR, p < 0.001).


HPV information provided by the Canadian provincial department/ministry of health websites may not be adequate for the lay population to understand. Readability and coherence are important factors that should be considered to improve the quality and adequacy of the information provided so the message reaches the Canadian population.


Human papilloma virus HPV vaccine Health literacy Health communication Readability Coherence 


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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt Lomas Tulsieram
    • 1
  • Jose Frank Arocha
    • 1
  • Joon Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public Health and Health SystemsUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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