Thesis, Quantitatively

Google added a few figures to their “Word Count” feature that are supposed to measure how easy to read a document is. I tried to find out more about these figures, because the “Fleisch-Kincaid Grade Level” didn’t really tell me all that much. While searching, I found the Juicy Studio: Readability website that gave me even more numbers. Even after reading what the numbers mean, still find them pretty meaningless, but they are interesting enough to share.

Currently, my thesis generates the following results:

Total sentences: 1534
Total words: 18006
Average words per Sentence: 11.74

Words with 1 Syllable: 11817
Words with 2 Syllables: 3377
Words with 3 Syllables: 1697
Words with 4 or more Syllables: 1115
Percentage of word with three or more syllables: 15.62%
Average Syllables per Word: 1.56

Gunning Fog Index: 10.94
Flesch Reading Ease: 62.79
Flesch-Kincaid Grade: 7.42

Both the Gunning Fog Index and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade are supposed to represent the years of schooling the reader will have to have received to understand the text. My thesis apparently is accessible to high school juniors or even freshmen, depending on what figure you use. Typical Gunning Fog Index values for academic papers are 15 to 20.


About Mathias

Software development engineer. Principal developer of DrJava. Recent Ph.D. graduate from the Department of Computer Science at Rice University.
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