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The CDC Clear Communication Index

The CDC Clear Communication Index (Index) is a new research-based tool to plan and assess public communication materials. The 4 questions and 20 items in the Index are drawn from the scientific literature in communication and related disciplines. The items represent the most important characteristics to enhance clarity and aid people’s understanding of information.

The Index provides a numerical score on a scale of 100 so that developers of communication products can objectively assess and improve materials based on the best available science.

The Index assesses materials in seven areas:

  • Main message and call to action
  • Language
  • Information design
  • State of the science
  • Behavioral recommendations
  • Numbers
  • Risk

Organizations that want an evidence-based clear communication tool can use the Index to develop and evaluate their own materials.

  • The User Guide [1.6 MB, 36 pages] includes explanations and examples for the 20 scored items in the Index.
  • The full score sheet [713 KB, 7 pages] includes the 4 introductory questions and 20 scored items plus instructions for scoring. Use this score sheet for any material one page or longer, such as fact sheets, brochures, web pages, and reports.
  • The modified score sheet [672 KB, 7 pages] has the same 4 introductory questions and fewer items. Use this Modified score sheet score sheet for materials less than one page in length and for information delivered orally. Examples include Facebook posts, Twitter messages, scripts for podcasts and call center responses, and storytelling infographics.

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  • Page last reviewed: March 4, 2014
  • Page last updated: March 4, 2014
  • Content source: