Plain tutorial

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The current presentation is a tutorial that goes over the following: (1) general guidelines in plain writing
and (2) writing style in plain writing. This tutorial has been prepared using the Federal Plain Language
Guidelines (Rev 1, May 2011).

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Plain tutorial

  1. 1. Plain Writing Tutorial Developed by: The Eureka Effect Science communication. Simplified Present Promote Propel @ eureka-effect. com This presentation was prepared based on the Federal Plain Language guidelines (Rev 1, May 2011)
  2. 2. Plain writing: the process Identify Organiz audienc e Write Test e material Clamy This presentation will address the writing process Reference: Federal Plain Language Guidelines (Rev 1, May
  3. 3. Plain writing: the writing process 1. General guidelines 2. Writing style
  4. 4. General guidelines o Active voice for engaging the reader o Present tense for clarity o Make the requirements clear to improve comprehension o ‘write as you talk’ for a natural reading experience Reference: Federal Plain Language Guidelines (Rev 1, May
  5. 5. General guidelines: active voice Passive: The therapeutic antibody was developed by the compan y. New regulations were proposed to ensure its proper administration. Active: The company developed the therapeutic antibody. They proposed new regulations to properly administer it. Adapted from Federal Plain Language Guidelines (Rev 1, May
  6. 6. General guidelines: present tense Past: These instructions describe types of information that would satisfy the application requirements of the TBA criteria as it would apply to this grant program. Present: These instructions tell you how to meet the requirements of the TBA criteria for this grant program. Adapted from Federal Plain Language Guidelines (Rev 1, May
  7. 7. General guidelines: make requirements clear imprecise use of ‘shall’: The trainee shall be notified by e-mail in all cases where the certificate applied for is not granted, and shall be given 30 days within which to appeal such a decision. Clear use of ‘must’: We will notify you via e-mail if we cannot grant you your certificate. You must file an appeal of that decision within 30 days. Adapted from Federal Plain Language Guidelines (Rev 1, May
  8. 8. General guidelines: write as you talk Stuffy: No corresponding authors of a scientific study may allow any collaborator to contribute data to that study without written permission from the Pl. Natural: If you are a corresponding author of a scientific study, don ’t allow any collaborator to contribute data to the study without written permission from the Pl. Adapted from Federal Plain Language Guidelines (Rev 1, May
  9. 9. Plain writing: writing style - Avoid clustering nouns - Address the reader - Use everyday words - Avoid unnecessary words - Write simple sentences - Cover one topic per paragraph Reference: Federal Plain Language Guidelines (Rev 1, May
  10. 10. Plain writing: avoid clustering nouns Clustered: Draft laboratory animal rights protection regulations Open: Draft regulations to protect the rights of laboratory animals Reference: Federal Plain Language Guidelines (Rev 1, May
  11. 11. Plain writing: address the reader Addressing no one: Individuals who suspect that their children may be exposed to secondhand smoke are requested to call the helpline during normal business hours Addressing the reader: If you think your child may be exposed to secondhand smoke, please call our helpline during normal business hours Adapted from Federal Plain Language Guidelines (Rev 1, May
  12. 12. Plain writing: use everyday words - Use the plain language thesaurus for health communicators (available on CDC. gov) to replace abstract words with everyday words. - The Federal Plain Language Guidelines provides the following suggestions: - Prefer the familiar word to the far-fetched. - Prefer the concrete word to the abstraction. - Prefer the single word to the circumlocution. o Prefer the short word to the long. o Prefer the Saxon word to the Romance word. Reference: Federal Plain Language Guidelines (Rev 1, May
  13. 13. Plain writing: avoid unnecessary words Longer Shorter a number of several a sufficient number of enough at this point in time now is able to can on a monthly basis monthly on the ground that because an amount of a a substance substance be responsible for must in order to to Reference: Federal Plain Language Guidelines (Rev 1, May
  14. 14. Plain writing: write simple sentences Complex: A preliminary grant proposal will be prepared by the research team and presented to an academic who agrees to review it and provide suggestions for improvement Simpler: The research team will improve their preliminary grant proposal by seeking reviews from an academic Adapted from Federal Plain Language Guidelines (Rev 1, May
  15. 15. Plain writing: cover one topic per paragraph Remember the paragraph commandments: - Topic sentence - Central idea - Transition words Suggestions for plain writing: - Short paragraphs (~15O words; 8 sentences) - A one line paragraph to emphasize a key point 0 Split a large paragraph into smaller ones with headings Reference: Federal Plain Language Guidelines (Rev 1, May
  16. 16. Summary General guidelines: Active voice Present tense Make requirements clear (use must) Write as you talk Writing style: Avoid clustering nouns Address the reader Use everyday words Avoid unnecessary words Write simple sentences Cover one topic per paragraph
  17. 17. Take home message “One should aim not at being possible to understand, but at being impossible to misunderstand” — Quintilian Plain writing = writing for clarity
  18. 18. Thank you for listening Spread the word The Eureka Effect Science communication. Simplified Present Promote Propel eurelta-ei'i'ect. com l ~

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