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The readability of academic papers in the Journal of Property Investment & Finance

Stephen Lee (Cass Business School, City University, London, UK)
Nick French (Department of Real Estate and Construction, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK)

Journal of Property Investment & Finance

ISSN: 1463-578X

Article publication date: 27 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of the Journal of Property Investment & Finance (JPIF) is to keep industry practitioners informed on current thinking and developments in all aspects of real estate research and practice by informing and encouraging debate between academics and practising professionals. To achieve this aim the journal seeks to: “publish well‐written, readable articles of intellectual rigour with a theoretical and practical relevance to the real estate profession”. But some papers are likely to be more difficult to understand than others and may not be effective if the reader is unable to completely comprehend the contents. Thus, the readability of academic papers has a major effect on how well the reader is informed by the articles appearing in the journal. However, nothing is known about the readability of real estate journals. The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a study that analysed the readability of academic papers in the JPIF and concludes that the academic articles are “difficult” to read.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, readability is defined as the “ease of understanding or comprehension based on the style of writing”. That is, the legibility of the print (typography) or the ease of reading due to the pleasantness of writing but the ease with which the reader can understand an article, read it at an optimal speed, and find it interesting, i.e. its comprehension, is being measured. In this briefing, the authors follow previous studies and use five different readability tests, designed to identify the number of years of education needed to read the text, and average the results across the tests.

Findings

Using the sample of all academic JPIF papers over the period 1997 to 2009, it was found that the academic papers in the JPIF come under the “difficult” range with the reader needing a college level education in order to understand the text.

Originality/value

Readability is generally considered to be one of the most important characteristics of effective writing. Yet nothing is known about the readability of academic papers in real estate journals. This paper fills some of the gaps.

Keywords

Citation

Lee, S. and French, N. (2011), "The readability of academic papers in the Journal of Property Investment & Finance", Journal of Property Investment & Finance, Vol. 29 No. 6, pp. 693-704. https://doi.org/10.1108/14635781111171814

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited