Towards evidence-based writing decisions: The Knowledge Base Comprehensible Text

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: This paper introduces the Knowledge Base Comprehensible Text, a digital
resource containing 702 studies on comprehension and usability of text and discourse,
published between 1980 and 2010. The paper explains which publications were
included in the knowledge base, how they were collected, how they were annotated
and what the interface of the knowledge base looks like.
Method: Literature search
Results: The paper presents a brief survey of the studies contained in this resource,
and discusses the answers of the knowledge base to an exemplary question about the
comprehensibility of passives.
Conclusion: The knowledge base makes research on comprehension accessible that is
relevant for both practitioners and researchers in the field of technical communication.
It is a useful tool in a field which, by its very nature, has a strong interdisciplinary
orientation and is therefore hard to oversee.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-37
Number of pages13
JournalTechnical Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • empirical evidence
  • knowledge base
  • writing
  • literature search
  • comprehension
  • readability
  • usability


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