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Type: Journal article
Title: Third molars on the internet: a guide for assessing information quality and readability
Author: Hanna, K.
Brennan, D.
Sambrook, P.
Armfield, J.
Citation: Interactive Journal of Medical Research, 2015; 4(4):e19-1-e19-12
Publisher: JMIR Publications
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 1929-073X
Statement of
Kamal Hanna, David Brennan, Paul Sambrook, Jason Armfield
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Directing patients suffering from third molars (TMs) problems to high-quality online information is not only medically important, but also could enable better engagement in shared decision making. OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to develop a scale that measures the scientific information quality (SIQ) for online information concerning wisdom tooth problems and to conduct a quality evaluation for online TMs resources. In addition, the study evaluated whether a specific piece of readability software (Readability Studio Professional 2012) might be reliable in measuring information comprehension, and explored predictors for the SIQ Scale. METHODS: A cross-sectional sample of websites was retrieved using certain keywords and phrases such as "impacted wisdom tooth problems" using 3 popular search engines. The retrieved websites (n=150) were filtered. The retained 50 websites were evaluated to assess their characteristics, usability, accessibility, trust, readability, SIQ, and their credibility using DISCERN and Health on the Net Code (HoNCode). RESULTS: Websites' mean scale scores varied significantly across website affiliation groups such as governmental, commercial, and treatment provider bodies. The SIQ Scale had a good internal consistency (alpha=.85) and was significantly correlated with DISCERN (r=.82, P<.01) and HoNCode (r=.38, P<.01). Less than 25% of websites had SIQ scores above 75%. The mean readability grade (10.3, SD 1.9) was above the recommended level, and was significantly correlated with the Scientific Information Comprehension Scale (r=.45. P<.01), which provides evidence for convergent validity. Website affiliation and DISCERN were significantly associated with SIQ (P<.01) and explained 76% of the SIQ variance. CONCLUSION: The developed SIQ Scale was found to demonstrate reliability and initial validity. Website affiliation, DISCERN, and HoNCode were significant predictors for the quality of scientific information. The Readability Studio software estimates were associated with scientific information comprehensiveness measures.
Keywords: DISCERN; Health on the Net Code; Scientific Information Quality Scale; health information online; readability; website affiliation; website content analysis; wisdom teeth
Rights: ©Kamal Hanna, David Brennan, Paul Sambrook, Jason Armfield. Originally published in the Interactive Journal of Medical Research (, 06.10.2015. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in the Interactive Journal of Medical Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.
RMID: 0030037164
DOI: 10.2196/ijmr.4712
Appears in Collections:Dentistry publications

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