Readability of Introductory Financial and Managerial Accounting Textbooks

By Plucinski, Kenneth J.; Olsavsky, John et al. | Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, October 1, 2009 | Go to article overview

Readability of Introductory Financial and Managerial Accounting Textbooks


Plucinski, Kenneth J., Olsavsky, John, Hall, Linda, Academy of Educational Leadership Journal


ABSTRACT

Selecting a textbook for use in introductory accounting courses can be a challenging task for faculty. Many criteria may be considered in such decisions, including a textbook's readability level. Using a widely-used readability index, this study analyzes the readability of seven introductory financial and managerial accounting texts. T-tests are performed to determine whether significant differences exist between the textbooks. The study finds that one text is clearly more readable than all of the others. Another text is less readable than almost all of the other texts. These findings can be useful to adopters and editors of introductory financial and managerial accounting textbooks.

INTRODUCTION

Selecting a textbook for use in introductory accounting courses can be a weighty and challenging task for faculty. Since business and accounting majors and minors generally must take the introductory accounting course sequence, a large number of students are impacted by their decision. But the text selection process is complicated by the large number of text attributes for faculty to consider. Such attributes may include: a text's pedagogical approach; coverage of material; exhibits, charts, and vignettes; end-of-chapter material; student and instructor supplements; authors' reputations; and, instructors' past experiences with the text. Faculty may also wish to consider a text's readability.

Readability may be defined as the degree to which a class of people finds certain reading matter compelling and comprehensible (McLaughlin, 1969). "Readability" should not be confused with "legibility," which refers to the ease of being read. Readability, in this context, refers to the qualities of writing which are related to reader comprehension. A variety of techniques have been used to predict readability, including several readability indexes (or formulas) which have been used widely since the 1950s.

Information on readability can be helpful to faculty when making textbook adoption decisions. One of the criteria to which faculty attach the most significance in those decisions is textbook comprehensibility (Smith & DeRidder, 1997), which can be predicted, at least in part, using a readability index. The adoption decision also affects students. Research (using a readability index) indicates that the less readable a textbook used in a core business course (including introductory accounting), the lower the grade average in that course (Spinks & Wells, 1993).

LITERATURE REVIEW

Little study of the readability of accounting texts has been undertaken over the last 25 years; only six such studies were identified. Three of the studies, Razek et al. (1982), Adelberg and Razek (1984), and Flory et al. (1992), concerned intermediate and/or advanced accounting texts. The other three studies, Traugh et al. (1987), Sullivan and Benke (1997), and Davidson (2005), concerned (at least in part) introductory accounting texts.

The Traugh study analyzed accounting principles texts (the traditional introductory text of the period) and found no significant differences in the readability level of the textbooks considered. Sullivan compared introductory financial accounting textbooks in terms of attributes (e.g., teaching aids and supplements), readability, and philosophy/approach. Davidson considered the long-term trends of the readability of accounting textbooks, including that of 50 introductory books published over the past 100 years.

Since the Davidson study investigated trends over many years, it did not compare the readability of individual texts. The Sullivan study was limited to introductory financial accounting texts. Traugh investigated principles of accounting texts (which include financial and managerial accounting), but the most recent textbook included in that study was published over 20 years ago. Since the most recent readability study of individual introductory accounting textbooks is now 10 years old (and included only financial accounting texts), and since the most recent analysis of introductory financial and managerial ("principles of accounting") texts is now 20 years old, an update of the readability of introductory accounting texts appears to be in order. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Readability of Introductory Financial and Managerial Accounting Textbooks
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.