Guidelines and Other Resources To Fine-tune Your Writing
Guidelines for writing, checklists, and tip sheets give you a systematic way to help make sure you are doing all you can to produce clear, compelling text.
The guidelines and checklist tools listed below focus on writing in plain language. These tools will help you write effectively for an audience that includes people with a broad range of literacy skills. They offer guidance for writing in ways that make your material clear and simple without “talking down,” sacrificing content, or distorting the meaning.
- Health Literacy Online: A Guide to Writing and Designing Easy-to-Use Health Web Sites. This guide provides information on creating health Web sites and Web content for users with limited literacy skills and limited experience using the Web. It was developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP). Available at http://www.health.gov/healthliteracyonline/.
- The Health Literacy Style Manual. This publication by MAXIMUS was produced for Covering Kids & Families™, a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with direction provided by the Southern Institute on Children and Families. Available at http://www.coveringkidsandfamilies.org/resources/docs/stylemanual.pdf.
- Letting Go of The Words: Writing Web Content That Works. This book by Janice (Ginny) Redish offers many tips and examples on writing succinctly and clearly. Elsevier, Inc. 2007.
- Toolkit for Making Written Material Clear and Effective: Understanding and using the "Toolkit Guidelines for Writing" (Part 4). Written by Jeanne McGee for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Available at https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/WrittenMaterialsToolkit/index.html.
- The Suitability Assessment of Material. This tool is in Doak CC, Doak L, Root J. Teaching Patients With Low Literacy Skills, Second Edition. Philadelphia; J.B. Lippincott Co.; 1996.
- PlainLanguage.gov. This site includes tools to help with writing plain language as well as the Federal plain language guidelines. It is maintained by the Plain Language Action and Information Network, a group of federal employees from different agencies and specialties.
- Hochhauser M. Can Consumers Understand Managed Care Report Cards? Managed Care Interface 1998; 11(11): 91-95.
- Hochhauser M. Eight Tips for Writing More Effectively. Healthplan 1996; 37(6): 27; 29-30.
- Hochhauser M. HMO Report Cards: Communication Strategies vs. Consumer Abilities. Managed Care Quarterly 1999; 7(3): 75-82.
Also in "Tips on Writing a Quality Report"
- Why Good Writing Matters
- Tip 1. Write Text That’s Easy for Your Audience To Understand
- Tip 2. Be Concise and Well-Organized
- Tip 3. Make It Easy to Skim
- Tip 4. Use Devices That Engage Your Readers
- Tip 5. Make the Report Culturally Appropriate
- Tip 6. Be Cautious About Using Readability Formulas
- Tip 7. Test the Report With Your Audience
- Guidelines and Other Resources To Fine-tune Your Writing