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Plain language summaries: And laypeople understand your study results

January 31 2022 marks the launch of the Clinical Trials Information System, which requires that plain language summaries be provided for every published study. Make this obligation second nature by familiarizing yourself with the rules of easy-to-understand writing.

Writing summaries of study results that are understandable by laypeople can be a challenge if you spend most of your time in specialist circles and rarely deal with laypeople as part of your everyday working life.

The whitepaper (download below) guides you through the entire process of writing a lay-friendly summary, from material preparation to editing.


Switch to German in the upper right corner if you wish to download the German version of the whitepaper.


The following topics are covered in the PDF:

  • Background information on CTIS and EU guidelines
  • How to prepare your scientific source material so that it can be converted into an easily understood text
  • Creating reusable templates that incorporate the required parts of the lay summary
  • Tips for creating lay-friendly charts and illustrations
  • Writing rules for creating easy-to-understand texts and the reasoning behind the rules
  • The simple way to present abstract numbers, data, and statistics
  • Using two strategic test reading rounds with suitable test readers
  • Frequently used text building blocks

In just 15 pages you will learn how to apply writing rules to your academic source material to produce texts that can be understood by laypeople. It is important that you learn how to do this, since it is a mandatory requirement for authors of study documents: They must put the written study results that are intended for a specialist audience into words that interested laypeople can understand at first glance.