Tip 4. Use Devices that Engage Your Readers

You can attract and keep your audience interested in your report card by using devices that involve them with the material.

Get Your Readers Actively Involved

Certain writing devices help to engage readers by stimulating their curiosity and making the learning process more interactive. Like headlines, these devices enable the reader to focus on the issues of greatest interest to them. Like lists, they break up the flow of text so that it is less overwhelming.

Options include:

  • Questions and answers. Pose and answer questions such as the following:
    • How do hospitals differ?
    • How do health plans affect quality of care?
  • Common myths. Some people do not use reports on quality because they do not accept the basic premises that quality varies, parts of the health care system affect each other, and consumers can make choices. You can engage readers by discussing common myths such as:
    • I have no say over which hospital I go to.
    • Health plans can't influence what my doctor does.
  • True or false statements. True/false statements help to make reading the report a more interactive and engaging process for the reader. Pose and discuss statements such as the following:
    • Some nursing homes may look better than others, but they’re all the same inside. True or false?
    • A quality report can’t say whether a doctor will be right for me. True or false?
  • Vignettes and anecdotes. Effective educational materials often rely on stories to motivate people and help them understand complex issues, such as how to use the health care system and how to weigh their options. The use of vignettes and anecdotes can be quite helpful, especially for readers who come from cultures in which stories play a key role in conveying traditions and knowledge from generation to generation. Learn more about using stories in quality reports.

Two Points of Caution

Also in "Tips on Writing a Quality Report"

Page last reviewed May 2015
Page originally created February 2015
Internet Citation: Tip 4. Use Devices that Engage Your Readers. Content last reviewed May 2015. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/talkingquality/resources/writing/tip4.html