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Effective: 12/1/1984

Revised: 9/15/2003

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[ASU logo] CAM 402–02: Visibility of Organization in Policies and Procedures

Purpose

To describe the standard features within a policy and procedure that increase the visibility of its organization

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Source
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Academic and Administrative Documents

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Policy
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TECHNIQUES FOR ENHANCING VISIBILITY OF ORGANIZATION

Visibility of organization, which is vital to good administrative manuals, may often be achieved through using, alone or in combination, a variety of techniques, such as the following:

  1. headings and graduated indentations (see PRIMARY HEADINGS and SECONDARY HEADINGS)

  2. step-by-step listing

  3. playscript

  4. action-condition logic

    and

  5. decision tables or other tables (see TABLES AS REPLACEMENTS FOR TEXT).

Of these techniques, one of the simplest and most effective visual cues in either policies or procedures is the use of headings and graduated indentations. Headings:

  1. break up the text and divide it at logical points

  2. indicate the organization within a policy or procedure

    and

  3. guide users to the material pertinent to their needs.

Long blocks of dense copy are monotonous, make comprehension slow and difficult, and often obscure vital information. The use of headings avoids frustrating users with the task of extracting information from long, narrative paragraphs.

Of the other four techniques (see CAM 301-02,“Four Techniques for Writing Policies and Procedures”), some are more useful in policies and others, in procedures.

IN POLICIES

It is more difficult to achieve visibility in policies than in procedures, as policies are statements and explanations rather than directions and are customarily expressed in narrative paragraphs. Although short policies may be expressed satisfactorily in narrative paragraphs alone (see CAM 302-03, “Exhibits”), long policies are often easily improved by using the techniques of step-by-step listing and action-condition logic, as well as headings.

IN PROCEDURES

Procedures may be written using one or more of the techniques alone or using the technique(s) in combination with a narrative paragraph. The playscript technique is particularly useful in writing procedures that involve two or more individuals or units. The step-by-step listing and decision table techniques are also helpful.


TYPES OF HEADINGS

Two types of headings are used in policies and procedures: primary and secondary. These headings organize material visually. Use these headings as you would a topic outline.

PRIMARY HEADINGS

Headings that extend into the left margin are primary headings. These headings are capitalized and underlined. On page 1 of this policy, three primary headings appear: PURPOSE, SOURCE, and POLICY (see CAM 402-01, “Uniform Format for Policies and Procedures” for examples of standard primary headings).

SECONDARY HEADINGS

Secondary headings within a policy or procedure show the level of organization of the material, as described below and in CAM 402–02A. The four levels of secondary headings that may be used under primary headings employ a combination of capitalizing, underlining, and indenting to highlight the text’s organization and logic.

First-level headings are capitalized, underlined, and aligned with the left margin of the text (or begin at one inch).

Second-level headings are capitalized, not underlined, and indented 5 spaces from the left margin of the text (or begin at 1.375 inches).

Third-level headings are in mixed case (i.e., capitals and lowercase), underlined, and indented 10 spaces from the left margin of the text (or begin at 1.75 inches).

Fourth-level headings are in mixed case, not underlined, and indented 15 spaces from the left margin of the text (or begin at 2.125 inches).


INDENTATION OF TEXT

CAM 402–02A and CAM 402–02B illustrate the indentation standards described below.

TEXT WITHOUT HEADINGS

Text that is not underneath a heading is blocked between the left and right margins of the text.

TEXT UNDER PRIMARY HEADINGS

The text underneath a primary heading is blocked between the left and right margins of the text, between one inch and 6.75 inches.

TEXT UNDER SECONDARY HEADINGS

The text underneath each of the four levels of secondary headings visually reinforces the headings. It is aligned on the left with the heading and blocked under it.

INDENTATION OF NUMBERED LISTS

In step-by-step listing (see CAM 301-02, “Four Techniques for Writing Policies and Procedures”) and in other lists in text, the step number is aligned with the text or heading above it. The text immediately following the number is in a block.

Additional text appearing after the numbered items is aligned with the numbers above it (see CAM 402-02B).


TABLES AS REPLACEMENTS FOR TEXT

Often it is more efficient and effective to replace text with a table. A logically structured table, with appropriate labels and column headings, allows users to easily locate information at a glance (see CAM 402-02C).

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Cross-Reference
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For information on playscript headings and on the techniques of step-by-step listing, action-condition logic, decision tables, and playscript, see CAM 301-02, “Four Techniques for Writing Policies and Procedures.”

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Exhibits
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Some manual exhibits are available only in PDF format. An Adobe Acrobat Reader plug-in is required to view these PDF files. See our main policies and procedures page if you require this plug-in.

CAM 402–02A, Secondary Headings and Text Indentations

CAM 402–02B, Sample Lists with Appropriate Indentation of Numbers and of Text

CAM 402–02C, Sample Table

 

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Note:Please be advised that the policies and procedures used as examples in the CAM manual are often out of date and no longer applicable. They were chosen as examples when the CAM manual was revised in 1992. To access the current policies and procedures manuals, please go to http://www.asu.edu/aad/manuals.

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