War on Drugs: The Readability and Comprehensibility of Illegal Drug Awareness Campaign Brochures




drug addiction, plain language, readability, comprehensibility, document design


Information communicated and produced by the government is essentially fundamental as the government is set and deemed as a reliable and a credible source of information. This study assessed the readability, comprehensibility, and document design of two brochures on prohibited drugs awareness, which were produced and distributed by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), a government agency that is responsible in instituting policies about the use of illegal drugs in the Philippines. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, a total number of 120 participants comprised of students, those employed, the unemployed, and drug patients from a rehabilitation center answered two 10-item multiple choice questionnaires and Likert scales to assess and evaluate the comprehensibility and document design of the two brochures. Using the Coh-Metrix tool to analyze the readability of the two brochures, results showed that the two existing brochures were not that readable with the huge discrepancy of the readability levels of the docments against the 9-10 normative values of the reading tool utilized.  The results of the participants’ scores which were categorized as instructional or assisted level exhibited that the two brochures were not that comprehensible. Lastly, it was found that the designs of the documents were poor as some violations like small font size, pixelated pictures, and non-observance of color schemes were present. This paper argues that government agencies should produce information brochures that are patterned to the standards of Plain Language Movement in order to help the lay people grasp important information such as drug awareness.


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Author Biographies

Fermina Vergara

Fermina Bernabe Vergara  finished her BA in English Language Studies degree (Summa cum Laude) at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in 2018. Right after graduation, she participated in the Language Assistant Program sponsored by the Spanish Government in Toledo, Spain.  She is now an English Teacher at the UST Senior High School.

Rachelle Lintao, University of Santo Tomas

Rachelle Ballesteros-Lintao, Ph.D. is a professor of English at the University of Santo Tomas (UST). She is the incumbent Chair of the UST Department of English. She has published papers and presented in various conferences in line with her research interests in forensic linguistics, discourse analysis, language education, and language and technology. She is the Country Representative of Clarity, an international organization that promotes plain language in legal documents.



How to Cite

Vergara, F., & Lintao, R. (2020). War on Drugs: The Readability and Comprehensibility of Illegal Drug Awareness Campaign Brochures. International Journal of Language and Literary Studies, 2(4), 98–121. https://doi.org/10.36892/ijlls.v2i4.412