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Writing and Formatting Policies and Supporting Documents

Templates
Policy Glossary
Grammar and Style Rules
Titles
Handling Hyperlinks and Related Documents

Templates

System-Wide Policies and Standards

All new or substantially revised system-wide policies and standards must be written using the current template. Follow the guidelines for each section as stated within the template. Do not rename, delete or add sections to the template.

All Other Supporting Documents

The above templates may be used for campus policies and unit-level standards. There are no templates for operating procedures or system-wide guidelines.

Grammar and Style Rules

  • Use simple and specific terminology that can be easily understood by everyone.
  • Follow the Purdue University Editorial Style Guide (career account login required for access) for rules regarding punctuation, capitalization, etc. The style guide is based on the Associated Press Stylebook and the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. Exceptions to the style guide:
    • Capitalize all terms defined in the policy, as well as those defined in the central Policy Glossary, each time they are used.
    • Capitalize titles of individuals at Purdue when the title is referring to a specific person (e.g., "Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost"). Leave titles that refer to a group of people in lowercase (e.g., "vice provosts").
    • Do not abbreviate months, even when used with a specific date.
  • Use the words “must" or “will” rather than "should" in the body of the policy. The later infers that the action is optional, which makes the need for the policy or standard questionable.
  • Always use an office, department, unit or job title instead of an individual’s name. Examples:
    • “The Office of Ethics and Compliance is responsible for ...”
    • “Contact the account clerk for …”
  • Contact emails must be general department addresses or a Web page that gives further contact information. Individual email addresses may not be used; this prevents the policy or standard from needing updates when personnel changes occur.
  • Do not underline subheadings or words that need to be stressed in a sentence. Rather, use the heading styles in Microsoft Word if it is a subheading or put it in italics if the word needs to be stressed (e.g., “Do not underline words.”). Underlined words can be mistaken for hyperlinks when the policy is posted online.

Titles

  • The document title should be clear, concise and accurately reflect its content.
  • Avoid the use of acronyms and the words "Purdue," "University" and "policy."
  • Use a title that is sufficiently different from other policies or standards on this website.

Handling Hyperlinks and Related Documents

  • Use contextual links within the body of the policy/standard, and write out the full URL (Web address) in the Related Documents, Forms and Tools section.
  • The University Policies website is not a repository for policy-related documents. Instead, these items should be available on an appropriate unit-level website to which the policy or standard can link.
  • Notify the UPO any time a URL listed in the policy or standard changes in order to avoid broken links.
  • Related documents should be version dated in either the header or footer of the document to ensure the most current version is being used. Do not version date the name of the file, as this will change the URL of the file when it is posted online.