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Abstracts, introductions and discussions: How far do they differ in style?


  • James Hartley

    (University of Keele)

  • James W. Pennebaker

    (University of Texas)

  • Claire Fox

    (University of Keele)


Two computer-based style programs were used to analyse the Abstracts, Introductions and Discussions of 80 educational psychology journal articles. Measures were made of the overall readability of the texts as well as of sentence lengths, difficult and unique words, articles, prepositions and pronouns. The results showed that the Abstracts scored worst on most of these measures of readability, the Introductions came next, and the Discussions did best of all. However, although the mean scores between the sections differed, the authors wrote in stylistically consistent ways across the sections. Thus readability was variable across the sections but consistent within the authors.

Suggested Citation

  • James Hartley & James W. Pennebaker & Claire Fox, 2003. "Abstracts, introductions and discussions: How far do they differ in style?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 57(3), pages 389-398, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:57:y:2003:i:3:d:10.1023_a:1025008802657
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1025008802657

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    Cited by:

    1. Edoardo Magnone, 2014. "A novel graphical representation of sentence complexity: the description and its application," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 98(2), pages 1301-1329, February.
    2. Lutz Bornmann & Markus Wolf & Hans-Dieter Daniel, 2012. "Closed versus open reviewing of journal manuscripts: how far do comments differ in language use?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 91(3), pages 843-856, June.
    3. Omar Mubin & Dhaval Tejlavwala & Mudassar Arsalan & Muneeb Ahmad & Simeon Simoff, 2018. "An assessment into the characteristics of award winning papers at CHI," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 116(2), pages 1181-1201, August.
    4. Dowling, Michael & Hammami, Helmi & Zreik, Ousayna, 2018. "Easy to read, easy to cite?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 100-103.
    5. Meva Bayrak Karsli & Sinem Karabey & Nergiz Ercil Cagiltay & Yuksel Goktas, 2018. "Comparison of the discussion sections of PhD dissertations in educational technology: the case of Turkey and the USA," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 117(3), pages 1381-1403, December.
    6. Berninger, Marc & Kiesel, Florian & Schiereck, Dirk & Gaar, Eduard, 2021. "Citations and the readers’ information-extracting costs of finance articles," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).
    7. Diego Marino Fages, 2020. "Write better, publish better," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 122(3), pages 1671-1681, March.
    8. Christos Alexakis & Michael Dowling & Konstantinos Eleftheriou & Michael Polemis, 2021. "Textual Machine Learning: An Application to Computational Economics Research," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 57(1), pages 369-385, January.
    9. Naser Rashidi & Hussein Meihami, 2018. "Informetrics of Scientometrics abstracts: a rhetorical move analysis of the research abstracts published in Scientometrics journal," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 116(3), pages 1975-1994, September.

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