Re: Quality Metrics for Documentation

Subject: Re: Quality Metrics for Documentation
From: "Sandy Harris" <sharris -at- dkl -dot- com>
To: Susan Peradze <susan -dot- peradze -at- peri -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 06 Mar 2000 09:52:09 -0500

Susan Peradze wrote:

> Our technical writing group is interested in procuring a tool
> (preferably software) that can be used to measure the quality of
> technical documentation. We need to produce "objective" data to
> demonstrate to upper management that ...

There's a whole bunch of research literature on measuring 'readability'
and several incompatible methods for doing so.

Basically you count easy things like letters per word and words per
sentence, or slightly harder things like syllables per word or clauses
per sentence, do some statistical fiddling, and come up with a metric.
The details have been extensively haggled over and several different
metrics of this type widely used.

The Writer's Workbench system, from a research group at Bell Labs
headed by Lorinda Cherry in the 70s or early 80s, included several of
these metrics. Look for her papers in Bell Labs Tech Journal and

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