WRITING AND WRITERS: GUIDES AND HANDBOOKS : UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT : EMPLOYMENT: HUMAN RESOURCES AND PERSONNEL: EMPLOYEE HANDBOOKS: Employee Handbooks

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WRITING AND WRITERS: GUIDES AND HANDBOOKS :

UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT :

EMPLOYMENT: HUMAN RESOURCES AND PERSONNEL: EMPLOYEE HANDBOOKS:

Employee Handbooks

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Employee Handbooks

United States. Small Business Administration

https://www.sba.gov/content/employee-handbooks

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An employee handbook is an important communication tool between you and
your employees. A well-written handbook sets forth your expectations for
your employees, and describes what they can expect from your company. It
also should describe your legal obligations as an employer, and your
employees’ rights. This guide will help you write an employee handbook,
which typically includes the topics below.

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Topics Covered in This Article:

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Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and Conflict of Interest Statements

Anti-Discrimination Policies

Compensation

Work Schedules

Standards of Conduct

General Employment Information

“Your employee handbook should include an a overview of your business and
general employment policies covering employment eligibility, job
classifications, employee referrals, employee records, job postings,
probationary periods, termination and resignation procedures, transfers
and relocation, and union information, if applicable.

Visit the following pages for more information.

Employment & Labor Laws
Foreign Workers, Immigration & Employee Eligibility
Performing Pre-Employment Background Checks
Terminating Employees
Unions”

Safety and Security

Computers and Technology

Media Relations

Employee Benefits

Employee Benefits

Leave Policies

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Related Articles:

Hire Your First Employee

https://www.sba.gov/content/hire-your-first-employee

Optional Employee Benefits

https://www.sba.gov/content/optional-employee-benefits

Required Employee Benefits

https://www.sba.gov/content/required-employee-benefits

============================================

Links to additional sources regarding employee manuals guides and
handbooks.

Google Books

http://tinyurl.com/p29hco8

.

Google Scholar

http://tinyurl.com/psv9myd

.

Google Videos

http://tinyurl.com/pyq5jf6

.

Google Images

http://tinyurl.com/nmo4cby

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Google Blog Search

http://tinyurl.com/o5wrhae

.

Google Domain Limited Web Search (GOV)

http://tinyurl.com/pjff25g

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Google Domain Limited Web Search (EDU)

http://tinyurl.com/nklcpee

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Google Domain Limited Web Search (ORG)

http://tinyurl.com/nj3zxs6

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Google Domain Limited Web Search (BOOKS)

http://tinyurl.com/njzjyqn

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Google Domain Limited Web Search (JSTOR)

http://tinyurl.com/o5jmgfs

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Google Domain Limited Web Search (SCIENCEDIRECT)

http://tinyurl.com/ousfhye

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Google Domain Limited Web Search (PUBMED)

http://tinyurl.com/ptu5tte

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WEBBIB1516
http://tinyurl.com/q8tavoy

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Sincerely,
David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204 – 4584
jwne@temple.edu
http://workface.com/e/daviddillard

Net-Gold
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/net-gold
http://listserv.temple.edu/archives/net-gold.html
https://groups.io/org/groupsio/Net-Gold/archives
http://net-gold.3172864.n2.nabble.com/

Research Guides
http://tinyurl.com/qy3gq6g
AND
https://sites.google.com/site/researchguidesonsites/

RESEARCH PAPER WRITING
http://guides.temple.edu/research-papers
EMPLOYMENT
http://guides.temple.edu/employment-guide
INTERNSHIPS
http://guides.temple.edu/employment-internships
HOSPITALITY
http://guides.temple.edu/hospitality-guide
DISABILITIES AND EMPLOYMENT
http://guides.temple.edu/c.php?g=134557
INDOOR GARDENING
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/IndoorGardeningUrban/info
Educator-Gold
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Educator-Gold/
K12ADMINLIFE
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/K12AdminLIFE/

PUBLIC HEALTH RESOURCES INCLUDING EBOLA
http://guides.temple.edu/public-health-guide

Blog
https://educatorgold.wordpress.com/

Articles by David Dillard
https://sites.google.com/site/daviddillardsarticles/

Information Literacy (Russell Conwell Center Guide)
http://tinyurl.com/78a4shn

Nina Dillard’s Photographs on Net-Gold
http://www.flickr.com/photos/neemers/

Twitter: davidpdillard

Temple University Site Map
https://sites.google.com/site/templeunivsitemap/home

Bushell, R. & Sheldon, P. (eds),
Wellness and Tourism: Mind, Body, Spirit,
Place, New York: Cognizant Communication Books.
Wellness Tourism: Bibliographic and Webliographic Essay
David P. Dillard
http://tinyurl.com/p63whl

RailTram Discussion Group
From the Union Pacific to BritRail and Beyond
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/railtram/info

INDOOR GARDENING
Improve Your Chances for Indoor Gardening Success
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/IndoorGardeningUrban/

SPORT-MED
https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/sport-med.html
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sports-med/
http://listserv.temple.edu/archives/sport-med.html

HEALTH DIET FITNESS RECREATION SPORTS TOURISM
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/healthrecsport/info
http://listserv.temple.edu/archives/health-recreation-sports-tourism.html

.

.

Please Ignore All Links to JIGLU
in search results for Net-Gold and related lists.
The Net-Gold relationship with JIGLU has
been terminated by JIGLU and these are dead links.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Net-Gold/message/30664
http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/healthrecsport/message/145
Temple University Listserv Alert :
Years 2009 and 2010 Eliminated from Archives
https://sites.google.com/site/templeuniversitylistservalert/

.

.

WRITING AND WRITERS: GUIDES AND HANDBOOKS : UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT : EMPLOYMENT: HUMAN RESOURCES AND PERSONNEL: EMPLOYEE HANDBOOKS: Employee Handbooks

WRITING AND WRITERS: GUIDES AND HANDBOOKS : UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT : WRITING AND WRITERS: PLAGIARISM: Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism, and Other Questionable Writing Practices: A Guide to Ethical Writing

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WRITING AND WRITERS: GUIDES AND HANDBOOKS :

UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT :

WRITING AND WRITERS: PLAGIARISM:

Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism, and
Other Questionable Writing Practices:
A Guide to Ethical Writing

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Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism, and
Other Questionable Writing Practices:
A Guide to Ethical Writing

The Office of Research Integrity

https://ori.hhs.gov/avoiding-plagiarism-self-plagiarism-
and-other-questionable-writing-practices-guide-ethical-writing

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/pe4w3kv

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Download PDF of this Module

26 Guidelines at a Glance

Introduction

On ethical writing

Plagiarism

. Plagiarism of ideas
. Acknowledging the source of our ideas
. Plagiarism of text
. Inappropriate paraphrasing
. Paraphrasing and plagiarism: What the writing guides say
. Examples of paraphrasing: Good and bad
. Paraphrasing highly technical language
. Plagiarism and common knowledge
. Plagiarism and authorship disputes

Self plagiarism

. Redundant and Duplicate (i.e., dual) Publications
. Academic self plagiarism
. Salami Slicing (i.e., data fragmentation)
. Copyright Law
. Copyright Infringement, Fair Use, and Plagiarism
. Text recycling
. Forms of acceptable text recycling
. Borderline/unacceptable cases of text recycling

The Lesser Crimes of Writing

. Carelessness in citing sources
. Relying on an abstract or a preliminary version of a paper while
citing the published version
. Citing sources that were not read or thoroughly understood
. Borrowing extensively from a source but only acknowledging a small
portion of what is borrowed
. Ethically inappropriate writing practices
. Selective reporting of literature
. Selective reporting of methodology
. Selective reporting of results
. Authorship issues and conflicts of interest
. Deciding on authorship
. Establishing authorship
. Authorship in faculty-student collaborations
. A brief overview on conflicts of interest

References

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Content Sampling

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26 Guidelines at a Glance on Avoiding Plagiarism

https://ori.hhs.gov/plagiarism-0

Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing
practices: A guide to ethical writing

Table of Contents | Next

Download print-friendly PDF

The following guidelines are taken from “Avoiding plagiarism,
self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing practices: A guide to
ethical writing” by Miguel Roig.

Guideline 1: An ethical writer ALWAYS acknowledges the contributions of
others and the source of his/her ideas.

Guideline 2: Any verbatim text taken from another author must be enclosed
in quotation marks.

Guideline 3: We must always acknowledge every source that we use in our
writing; whether we paraphrase it, summarize it, or enclose it quotations.

Guideline 4: When we summarize, we condense, in our own words, a
substantial amount of material into a short paragraph or perhaps even into
a sentence.

Guideline 5: Whether we are paraphrasing or summarizing we must always
identify the source of the information.

Guideline 6: When paraphrasing and/or summarizing others work we must
reproduce the exact meaning of the other authors ideas or facts using our
words and sentence structure.

Guideline 7: In order to make substantial modifications to the original
text that result in a proper paraphrase, the author must have a thorough
understanding of the ideas and terminology being used.

Guideline 8: A responsible writer has an ethical responsibility to
readers, and to the author/s from whom s/he is borrowing, to respect
others ideas and words, to credit those from whom we borrow, and whenever
possible, to use ones own words when paraphrasing.

Guideline 9: When in doubt as to whether a concept or fact is common
knowledge, provide a citation.

Guideline 10: Authors who submit a manuscript for publication containing
data, reviews, conclusions, etc., that have already been disseminated in
some significant manner (e.g., published as an article in another journal,
presented at a conference, posted on the internet) must clearly indicate
to the editors and readers the nature of the previous dissemination.

Guideline 11: Authors of complex studies should heed the advice previously
put forth by Angell & Relman (1989). If the results of a single complex
study are best presented as a cohesive single whole, they should not be
partitioned into individual papers. Furthermore, if there is any doubt as
to whether a paper submitted for publication represents fragmented data,
authors should enclose other papers (published or unpublished) that might
be part of the paper under consideration (Kassirer & Angell, 1995).
Similarly, old data that have been merely augmented with additional data
points and that are subsequently presented as a new study can be an
equally serious ethical breach.

Guideline 12: Because some instances of plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and
even some writing practices that might otherwise be acceptable (e.g.,
extensive paraphrasing or quoting of key elements of a book) can
constitute copyright infringement, authors are strongly encouraged to
become familiar with basic elements of copyright law.

Guideline 13: While there are some situations where text recycling is an
acceptable practice, it may not be so in other situations. Authors are
urged to adhere to the spirit of ethical writing and avoid reusing their
own previously published text, unless it is done in a manner consistent
with standard scholarly conventions (e.g., by using of quotations and
proper paraphrasing).

Guideline 14: Authors are strongly urged to double-check their citations.
Specifically, authors should always ensure that each reference notation
appearing in the body of the manuscript corresponds to the correct
citation listed in the reference section and vice versa and that each
source listed in the reference section has been cited at some point in the
manuscript. In addition, authors should also ensure that all elements of a
citation (e.g., spelling of authors names, volume number of journal,
pagination) are derived directly from the original paper, rather than from
a citation that appears on a secondary source. Finally, authors should
ensure that credit is given to those authors who first reported the
phenomenon being studied.

Guideline 15: The references used in a paper should only be those that are
directly related to its contents. The intentional inclusion of references
of questionable relevance for purposes of manipulating a journals or a
papers impact factor or a papers chances of acceptance is an unacceptable
practice.
Guideline 16: Authors should follow a simple rule: Strive to obtain the
actual published paper. When the published paper cannot be obtained, cite
the specific version of the material being used, whether it is conference
presentation, abstract, or an unpublished manuscript.

Guideline 17: Generally, when describing others work, do not rely on a
secondary summary of that work. It is a deceptive practice, reflects poor
scholarly standards, and can lead to a flawed description of the work
described. Always consult the primary literature.

Guideline 18: If an author must rely on a secondary source (e.g.,
textbook) to describe the contents of a primary source (e.g., an empirical
journal article), s/he should consult writing manuals used in his or her
discipline to follow the proper convention to do so. Above all, always
indicate the actual source of the information being reported.

Guideline 19: When borrowing heavily from a source, authors should always
craft their writing in a way that makes clear to readers, which ideas are
their own and which are derived from the source being consulted.

Guideline 20: When appropriate, authors have an ethical responsibility to
report evidence that runs contrary to their point of view. In addition,
evidence that we use in support of our position must be methodologically
sound. When citing supporting studies that suffer from methodological,
statistical, or other types of shortcomings, such flaws must be pointed
out to the reader.

Guideline 21: Authors have an ethical obligation to report all aspects of
the study that may impact the independent replicability of their research.

Guideline 22: Researchers have an ethical responsibility to report the
results of their studies according to their a priori plans. Any post hoc
manipulations that may alter the results initially obtained, such as the
elimination of outliers or the use of alternative statistical techniques,
must be clearly described along with an acceptable rationale for using
such techniques.

Guideline 23: Authorship determination should be discussed prior to
commencing a research collaboration and should be based on established
guidelines, such as those of the International Committee of Medical
Journal Editors.

Guideline 24: Only those individuals who have made substantitve
contributions to a project merit authorship in a paper.

Guideline 25: Faculty-student collaborations should follow the same
criteria to establish authorship. Mentors must exercise great care to
neither award authorship to students whose contributions do not merit it,
nor to deny authorship and due credit to the work of students.

Guideline 26: Academic or professional ghost authorship in the sciences is
ethically unacceptable.

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Plagiarism

https://ori.hhs.gov/plagiarism-3

Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing
practices: A guide to ethical writing
Table of Contents | Previous | Next

“…taking over the ideas, methods, or written words of another, without
acknowledgment and with the intention that they be taken as the work of
the deceiver.” American Association of University Professors
(September/October, 1989).

As the above quotation states, plagiarism has been traditionally defined
as the taking of words, images, ideas, etc. from an author and presenting
them as ones own. It is often associated with phrases, such as kidnapping
of words, kidnapping of ideas, fraud, and literary theft. Plagiarism can
manifest itself in a variety of ways and it is not just confined to
student papers or published articles or books. For example, consider a
scientist who makes a presentation at a conference and discusses at length
an idea or concept that had already been proposed by someone else and that
is not considered common knowledge. During his presentation, he fails to
fully acknowledge the specific source of the idea and, consequently,
misleads the audience into thinking that he was the originator of that
idea. This, too, may constitute a case of plagiarism. Consider the
following real-life examples of plagiarism and the consequences of the
offenders actions:

A historian resigns from the Pulitzer board after allegations that she
had appropriated text from other sources in one of her books.

A biochemist resigns from a prestigious clinic after accusations that
a book he wrote contained appropriated portions of text from a National
Academy of Sciences report.

A famous musician is found guilty of unconscious plagiarism by
including elements of another musical groups previously recorded song in
one of his new songs that then becomes a hit. The musician is forced to
pay compensation for the infraction.

A college president is forced to resign after allegations that he
failed to attribute the source of material that was part of a college
convocation speech.

A member of Congress running for his partys nomination withdraws from
the presidential race after allegations of plagiarism in one of his
speeches.

A psychologist has his doctoral degree rescinded after the university
finds that portions of his doctoral dissertation had been plagiarized.

In sum, plagiarism can be a very serious form of ethical misconduct.
For this reason, the concept of plagiarism is universally addressed in all
scholarly, artistic, and scientific disciplines. In the humanities and the
sciences, for example, there are a plethora of writing guides for students
and professionals whose purpose, in part, is to provide guidance to
authors on discipline-specific procedures for acknowledging the
contributions of others. Curiously, when it comes to the topic of
plagiarism, many professional writing guides appear to assume that the
user is already familiar with the concept. In fact, while instruction on
attribution, a key concept in avoiding plagiarism, is almost always
provided, some of the most widely used writing guides do not appear to
offer specific sections on plagiarism. Moreover, those that provide
coverage often fail to go beyond the most basic generalities about this
type of transgression.

Although plagiarism can take many forms there are two major types in
scholarly writing: plagiarism of ideas and plagiarism of text.

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Plagiarism of Ideas

https://ori.hhs.gov/plagiarism-4

Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing
practices: A guide to ethical writing
Table of Contents | Previous | Next

* Appropriating an idea (e.g., an explanation, a theory, a conclusion, a
hypothesis, a metaphor) in whole or in part, or with superficial
modifications without giving credit to its originator.

In the sciences, as in most other scholarly endeavors, ethical writing
demands that ideas, data, and conclusions that are borrowed from others
and used as the foundation of ones own contributions to the literature,
must be properly acknowledged. The specific manner in which we make such
acknowledgement varies from discipline to discipline. However, source
attribution typically takes the form of either a footnote or a reference
citation.

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The complete publication may be viewed at the web address at the top of
this post.

.

.

Sincerely,
David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204 – 4584
jwne@temple.edu
http://workface.com/e/daviddillard

Net-Gold
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/net-gold
http://listserv.temple.edu/archives/net-gold.html
https://groups.io/org/groupsio/Net-Gold/archives
http://net-gold.3172864.n2.nabble.com/

Research Guides
http://tinyurl.com/qy3gq6g
AND
https://sites.google.com/site/researchguidesonsites/

RESEARCH PAPER WRITING
http://guides.temple.edu/research-papers
EMPLOYMENT
http://guides.temple.edu/employment-guide
INTERNSHIPS
http://guides.temple.edu/employment-internships
HOSPITALITY
http://guides.temple.edu/hospitality-guide
DISABILITIES AND EMPLOYMENT
http://guides.temple.edu/c.php?g=134557
INDOOR GARDENING
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/IndoorGardeningUrban/info
Educator-Gold
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Educator-Gold/
K12ADMINLIFE
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/K12AdminLIFE/

PUBLIC HEALTH RESOURCES INCLUDING EBOLA
http://guides.temple.edu/public-health-guide

Blog
https://educatorgold.wordpress.com/

Articles by David Dillard
https://sites.google.com/site/daviddillardsarticles/

Information Literacy (Russell Conwell Center Guide)
http://tinyurl.com/78a4shn

Nina Dillard’s Photographs on Net-Gold
http://www.flickr.com/photos/neemers/

Twitter: davidpdillard

Temple University Site Map
https://sites.google.com/site/templeunivsitemap/home

Bushell, R. & Sheldon, P. (eds),
Wellness and Tourism: Mind, Body, Spirit,
Place, New York: Cognizant Communication Books.
Wellness Tourism: Bibliographic and Webliographic Essay
David P. Dillard
http://tinyurl.com/p63whl

RailTram Discussion Group
From the Union Pacific to BritRail and Beyond
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/railtram/info

INDOOR GARDENING
Improve Your Chances for Indoor Gardening Success
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/IndoorGardeningUrban/

SPORT-MED
https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/sport-med.html
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sports-med/
http://listserv.temple.edu/archives/sport-med.html

HEALTH DIET FITNESS RECREATION SPORTS TOURISM
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/healthrecsport/info
http://listserv.temple.edu/archives/health-recreation-sports-tourism.html

.

.

Please Ignore All Links to JIGLU
in search results for Net-Gold and related lists.
The Net-Gold relationship with JIGLU has
been terminated by JIGLU and these are dead links.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Net-Gold/message/30664
http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/healthrecsport/message/145
Temple University Listserv Alert :
Years 2009 and 2010 Eliminated from Archives
https://sites.google.com/site/templeuniversitylistservalert/

.

.

WRITING AND WRITERS: GUIDES AND HANDBOOKS : UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT : WRITING AND WRITERS: PLAGIARISM: Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism, and Other Questionable Writing Practices: A Guide to Ethical Writing

WRITING AND WRITERS: GUIDES AND HANDBOOKS : UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT: Federal Plain Language Guidelines, March 2011

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.

WRITING AND WRITERS: GUIDES AND HANDBOOKS :

UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT:

Federal Plain Language Guidelines, March 2011

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.

Federal Plain Language Guidelines, March 2011

Plain Language.gov

Improving communications from the Federal Government to the public

http://tinyurl.com/nje846n

Table of Contents

http://www.plainlanguage.gov/howto/guidelines/FederalPLGuidelines/TOC.cfm

Introduction

Think about your audience
Identify and write for your audience
Address separate audiences separately
Organize
Organize to meet your readers’ needs
Address one person, not a group
Use lots of useful headings
Write short sections
Write your document
Words
Verbs
Use active voice
Use the simplest form of a verb
Avoid hidden verbs
Use “must” to indicate requirements
Use contractions when appropriate
Nouns and pronouns
Don’t turn verbs into nouns
Use pronouns to speak directly to readers
Minimize abbreviations
Other word issues
Use short, simple words
Omit unnecessary words
Dealing with definitions
Use the same term consistently for a specific thought or
object
Avoid legal, foreign, and technical jargon
Don’t use slashes
Sentences
Write short sentences
Keep subject, verb, and object close together
Avoid double negatives and exceptions to exceptions
Place the main idea before exceptions and conditions
Place words carefully
Paragraphs
Have a topic sentence
Use transition words
Write short paragraphs
Cover only one topic in each paragraph
Other aids to clarity
Use examples
Use lists
Use tables to make complex material easier to understand
Consider using illustrations
Use emphasis to highlight important concepts
Minimize cross-references
Design your document for easy reading
Write for the web
How do people use the web?
Write for your users
Identify your users and their top tasks
Write web content
Repurpose print material for the web
Avoid PDF overload
Use plain-language techniques on the web
Avoid meaningless formal language
Write effective links
Test
Paraphrase Testing
Usability Testing
Controlled Comparative Studies
Testing Successes
Paraphrase Testing from the Veterans Benefits Administration
Usability Testing from the National Cancer Institute

One may download the Word or PDF version of the full Guidelines.

Sampling of Contents

Think about your audience

One of the most popular plain language myths is that you have to “dumb
down” your content so that everyone everywhere can read it. That’s not
true. The first rule of plain language is: write for your audience.

Use language your audience knows and feels comfortable with. Take your
audience’s current level of knowledge into account. Don’t write for an 8th
grade class if your audience is composed of PhD candidates, small business
owners, working parents or immigrants. Only write for 8th graders if your
audience is, in fact, an 8th grade class.

Make sure you know who your audience is – don’t guess or assume.

.

Identify and write for your audience

You have to grab your audience’s attention if you want to get your ideas
across. Let’s face it, people want to know just what applies to them. The
best way to grab and hold someone’s attention is to figure out who they
are and what they want to know. Put yourself in their shoes; it will give
you a new perspective. (Read Identify your users and their top tasks for
more information.)

Tell your audience why the material is important to them. Say,

“If you want a research grant, here’s what you have to do.” Or,

“If you want to mine federal coal, here’s what you should know.” Or,

“If you are planning a trip to Rwanda, read this first.”

Identifying your audience will do more than ensure that you write clearly.
It will also help you focus on the audience’s needs. Start out by thinking
about what your audience knows about the situation now. Then, think about
how to guide them from their current knowledge to what you need them to
know. To help you do this, try answering the following questions:

Who is my audience?

What does my audience already know about the subject?

What does my audience need to know?

What questions will my audience have?

What’s the best outcome for my agency?

What do I need to say to get this outcome?

What’s the best outcome for our audience?

What do I need to say to get this outcome?

Sources

Garner, Bryan A., Legal Writing in Plain English, 2001,
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 93-96.

Securities and Exchange Commission, Plain English Handbook,
1998, Washington, DC, p. 9.

.

Use lots of useful headings

The best-organized document will still be difficult for users to follow if
they can’t see how it’s organized. An effective way to reveal your
document’s organization is to use lots of useful headings. Headings are
also critical for effective web pages (see Writing for the web). You
should use headings liberally on the web to help your user accomplish top
tasks.

.

Write short sentences

External links are shown with a “external link icon”.

Express only one idea in each sentence. Long, complicated sentences often
mean that you aren’t sure about what you want to say. Shorter sentences
are also better for conveying complex information; they break the
information up into smaller, easier-to-process units.

Sentences loaded with dependent clauses and exceptions confuse the
audience by losing the main point in a forest of words. Resist the
temptation to put everything in one sentence; break up your idea into its
parts and make each one the subject of its own sentence.

.

snip

.

Sources

Charrow, Veda R., Erhardt, Myra K. and Charrow, Robert P.
Clear & Effective Legal Writing, 4th edition, 2007,
Aspen Publishers, New York, NY, pp. 163-165.

Garner, Bryan A., Legal Writing in Plain English, 2001,
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 19-21.

Kimble, Joseph, Guiding Principles for Restyling the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure (Part 1), Michigan Bar Journal, September 2005,
pp. 56-57.
http://www.michbar.org/journal/pdf/pdf4article909.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Reader iconexternal link icon.

Kimble, Joseph, Lifting the Fog of Legalese, 2006,
Carolina Academic Press,
Durham, NC, p. 96.

Murawski, Thomas A., Writing Readable Regulations, 1999,
Carolina Academic Press Durham, NC, p. 77.

Office of the Federal Register, Document Drafting Handbook, 1998, MMR-5.
http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/write/handbook/ddh.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Reader icon.

Redish, Janice C., How to Write Regulations and Other Legal Documents
in Clear English, 1991,
American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC, pp. 29-32

Securities and Exchange Commission, Plain English Handbook,
1998, Washington, DC, p. 28.

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Have a topic sentence

If you tell your reader what they’re going to read about, they’re less
likely to have to read your paragraph again. Headings help, but they’re
not enough. Establish a context for your audience before you provide them
with the details. If you flood readers with details first, they become
impatient and may resist hearing your message. A good topic sentence draws
the audience into your paragraph.

We often write the way we think, putting our premises first and then our
conclusion. It may be the natural way to develop our thoughts, but we wind
up with the topic sentence at the end of the paragraph. Move it up front
and let users know where you’re going. Don’t make readers hold a lot of
information in their heads before they get to your point.

Also, busy readers want to skim your document, stopping only for what they
want or need to know. You can help them by giving each a paragraph a good
introduction. Readers should be able to get good general understanding of
your document by skimming your topic sentences.

A side benefit of good topic sentences (and good headings) is that they
help you see if your document is well-organized. If it isn’t, topic
sentences make it easier for you to rearrange your material.

Sources

Garner, Bryan A., Legal Writing in Plain English, 2001,
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 65-66.

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Use examples

Examples help you clarify complex concepts, even in regulations. They are
an ideal way to help your readers. In spoken English, when you ask for
clarification of something, people often respond by giving you an example.
Good examples can substitute for long explanations. The more complex the
concept you are writing about, the more you should consider using an
example. By giving your audience an example that’s relevant to their
situation, you help them relate to your document.

Avoid using the Latin abbreviations for “for example” (e.g.) and “that is”
(i.e.).

Few people know what they mean, and they often confuse the two. Write out
the lead-in to your example: “for example” or “such as.”

The Internal Revenue Service makes extensive use of examples in its
regulations throughout 26 CFR Part 1, the regulations on income taxes. The
Environmental Protection Agency also uses examples in its regulations.
Here’s one from 40 CFR Part 50, Appendix H – Interpretation of the 1-Hour
Primary and Secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone.

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snip

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Sources

Murawski, Thomas A., Writing Readable Regulations, 1999,
Carolina Academic Press Durham, NC, pp. 45-46.

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[FROM Writing for the Web Section]

How do people use the web?

External links are shown with a “external link icon”.

People use the internet to easily find, understand, and use information to
complete a task. Unlike print media, people do not read entire web pages.
They scan instead. Nielsen and Morkes, in a famous 1997 study, found that
79 percent of their test users always scanned any new page they came
across; only 16 percent read word-by-word.

Even with more people using the web, the percent of content that is read
on a website has not increased by much. Here are some facts to consider
when writing web content:

In a 2008 study, based on analysis of 45,237 page views, Neilson found
that web users only read about 18% of what’s one page.

As the number of words on a page goes up, the percentage read goes
down.

To get people to read half your words, you must limit your page to
110 words or fewer.

What do web users look at?

Since we know web users scan web pages, we need to learn what they look
at.

Users often scan pages in an F pattern focusing on the top left side of
the page, headings, and the first few words of a sentence or bulleted
list. On average, users only read the first two words on each line. Also,
users can decide in as little as five seconds whether your site is useful
to them.

.

snip

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Sources

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/percent-text-read.htmlexternal link icon

http://www.customercarewords.com/what-it-is.htmlexternal link icon

Eyetracking Web Usability, New Riders Press, December 14, 2009

http://www.uie.com/articles/five_second_test/external link icon

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Write effective links

External links are shown with a “external link icon”.

Links are about both content and navigation. Effective link names are key
to satisfying your customers. The Eyetracking Studies showed links written
in plain-language were the most effective. Plain-language links are
written clearly so that the user understands exactly where the link will
take them.

Link names should be the same as the page name linked to.
Don’t use the full name of a document or program as a link name.
Be as explicit as you can-too long is better than too short.
Make the link meaningful. Don’t use “click here” or “more.”
Don’t embed links in text. It just invites people to leave your text!
Add a short description when needed to clarify the link.

Remember, some of your users might be visually disabled. Do not use “Click
Here” or “Click the green button” links. Make sure your links are
accessible to all users. You want to use links that clearly explain the
content of the page it links to. If your link says “Annual Reports,” then
destination page must be titled “Annual Reports.”

Sources

McGovern, Gerry, Killer Web Content: Make the Sale, Deliver the Service,
Build the Brand (and other works), 2006, A&C Black.

Nielsen, Jakob, Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity
(and other works), 1999, New Riders Publishing, Indianapolis.

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/nanocontent.htmlexternal link icon

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The complete publication may be viewed at the URL at the top of this post.

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Sincerely,
David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204 – 4584
jwne@temple.edu
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WRITING AND WRITERS: GUIDES AND HANDBOOKS : UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT: Federal Plain Language Guidelines, March 2011