Does the material always present numbers the primary audience uses?

Make sure you choose numbers necessary to support or explain the main message statement, and express numbers in common terms. Delete unnecessary numbers.

Most people find it challenging to make meaning from percentages, decimals, fractions and other numbers commonly used in research. For example, many people have difficulty with very large and very small numbers and measurement units such as milligrams.

During formative research, always ask audience members about their understanding of numbers used in the material. If you don’t have formative research findings, use numbers most often used by non-experts, such as whole numbers.

Note: There are some instances in which decimals are commonly used, such as human body temperature (98.6 degrees).

Example:

Before:

Eighty-one percent of children ages 6 months to 6 years watch TV or videos for about 1.96 hours a day.

After:

8 out of 10 children ages 6 months to 6 years watch TV or videos for about 2 hours a day.

Page last reviewed: August 11, 2014