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Effective: 12/1/1984

Revised: 9/6/1996

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[ASU logo] CAM 501: Editing a Manual Draft


To explain the importance of editing and the involvement of different individuals in the process

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Academic and Administrative Documents

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Manuals should impress their readers as credible, easily understood documents. This image is achieved through the editing process. Policies and procedures may be accurate, but if not clearly written in a uniform style, correctly punctuated, and properly formatted, they may lack credibility and confuse readers.

Manual drafts typically need to be edited a number of times by several different people: the writers themselves, the reviewers, and a designated individual within the writing group who has editorial responsibility for the manual’s final style and format. Each individual identifies needs for improvement that the others do not notice.


Writers of individual policies and procedures normally edit their own work a few times before sharing it with other members of the writing group or with reviewers. They edit their own work for style, mechanics, and format as discussed in CAM 300 and 400. An effective technique for writers is to allow a few days between editorial efforts. Reading a draft when it is “cold” brings a valuable perspective to the material and usually results in improvements.


Reviewers contribute to the editing process in several ways. Reviewers have an especially valuable perspective because they are completely unfamiliar with the previous drafts. They therefore can see problems more easily than can those who have been close to the developing drafts. As people who have knowledge of the subjects treated in the manual, they spot inaccuracies in procedures and policies. Reviewers also bring a broad perspective to the manual and can identify better than writers can what may be important or unimportant to the audience.


The person designated within the writing group to have editorial responsibility for the manual’s final style and format plays an important role. Using CAM 300 and 400 as a guide, this editor sees to it that the publication draft of the manual has the uniform style and format that will give the manual credibility. The editor also ensures that the manual has the proper scope and meets the identified needs of the intended audience.

The responsible editor may be given the role of routing documents and enforcing the review and publication schedules that the committee has set.

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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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