The following guidelines are presented to assist the committees in preparing the complete self-study as a seamless document.

Important Considerations

· All information must be factual, accurate, and verifiable.

· Analysis of information and data is essential. Recommendations must be supported by sufficient data and analysis. Description is not enough.

· Your analysis should describe strengths, and it should describe areas which need improvement or change.


Responsibilities of the General Editor

· Works with the Steering Committee to develop editorial guidelines for the self-study.

· Determines specific software and formatting for principal committee reports.

· Determines criteria for revising or rejecting drafts of reports (in conjunction with the Steering Committee).

· Assists the Steering Committee in reviewing preliminary drafts of reports.

· Works with the Steering Committee to create writing deadlines and ways to ensure that deadlines are met

· Determines process and deadlines for submitting drafts to the Editor.

· Creates and meets editorial deadlines.

· Edits the final draft of the self-study report and other appropriate documents.

· Makes arrangements for publishing the final document.

· Produces the final report (in conjunction with the Steering Committee) and decides how it is to be organized, bound, reproduced, and distributed.


Responsibilities of Committee Editors

· Review drafts prepared by committee members.

· Consult with committee members and offer advice during drafting.

· Edit reports to verify that documents are clear, concise, concrete, and accurate.

· Assist committee members in preparing final reports.

· Assist General Editor in achieving uniformity of the complete self-study report.

· Committee Editors should not be responsible for data collection and reporting.


Writing Assistance

Refer to the Harbrace College Handbook, 14th edition, as the standard source for grammar and mechanics.


Formatting Guidelines

Prepare documents in Microsoft Word 2000 and Excel 2000.

Line Spacing: Double space drafts with a quadruple space between paragraphs. The final report will be changed to a single-spaced document.

Spacing after punctuation: Space twice after a period that ends a sentence. Space twice after a colon. Space once after a semicolon. Space once after a comma.

Margins: 2 inch left margin, 0.75 inch right margin.

Font: Prepare text in 12 pt. Times New Roman font. Use 16 pt. font for first-level headings, 14 pt. font for second-level headings, and 12 pt. font for third-level headings.

Use 9 pt. font for must statement identification numbers and titles immediately above the paragraph addressing that must statement. When the completed document is ready for publication, these 9 pt. font headings will be moved into the left margin next to the referenced paragraph.

Pagination: Use page numbering feature for drafts. In the top right margin of each report, enter the draft number, date, and page number. (Example: Draft 1, 4/23/01, 2) The final report will be set up with headers and footers.

Bold: Use bold font sparingly for emphasized words and phrases.

Use bold for all headings.

Use bold when using the word "must" when referring to a must statement.

Use bold when using the word "should" when referring to a should statement.

Paragraphs: Do not indent paragraphs. The report will be written in block style.

Italics: Use italics instead of underlining for titles of long or complete works and for referring to words or phrases as terms.

Headings: Use the following hierarchy for headings.

First-level headings should be centered with first letters of all major words in capital letters, using bold 16 pt. font.

Second-level headings should be flush-left with first letters of all major words in capital letters, using bold 14 pt. font.

Third-level headings should be flush-left with first letters of all major words in capital letters, using bold 12 pt. font.


Style and Voice

· Write in narrative form following the organizational outline in the Table of Contents from the Criteria for Accreditation, Commission on Colleges.

· Write the report in third person. (No first person or second person should be used in the report.

· Use active voice as much as possible, rather than the passive voice, which is wordy and often vague.

· Use standard English, avoiding specialized vocabulary or jargon that might be unclear to readers from other disciplines and cause problems of consistency in the larger report. Also, avoid emotional or personal language. Example: (the Committee feels. . .)

· Remember that the visiting committee will not be familiar with abbreviated words and phrases used often around campus (OCIS, LIA).

· Keep verb tense consistently in the present or past unless a shift in tense has been justified by an appropriate transitional expression.

· Use transitional phrases to connect ideas in the report so that the document will read smoothly.

· In the report, refer to a position, an office, a division, or a group instead of to any specific individual. Refer to the DSC catalog for titles. (One should write, for example, "The Chairperson of the Division of Social Sciences is responsible for. . ." .)

· Strive for clarity, and use concise language.

Limit the use of it and there when beginning sentences.

Select gender-free terms.

ü convert to plural antecedents and pronouns when possible or write "he or she" instead of "he/she"

ü make sure pronouns and antecedents agree

Place words in an orderly sequence, positioning phrases and clauses correctly.

Eliminate unnecessary words.

Use necessary, precise modifiers.

Use action verbs and efficient words.

Use positive words.


For the sake of consistency, use the following guidelines for capitalization:

ü Capitalize the formal names of organizations, committees, boards, councils, and offices.

ü Capitalize the word "college" when it specifically refers to Dalton State College, but not when it is used as a general term, such as a "college education."

ü Capitalize professional titles when they precede a person=s name or follow the name as a specific title.

ü Do not capitalize terms for individual members, positions, or officers when they stand alone or appear as a generic title. (Example: When an associate professor. . . )



Use the scientific style for treatment of numbers. Write out numbers zero through nine. Always use words when the number is used to begin a sentence. Use numerals for charts, graphs, tables, dates, exact sums of money, measurement accompanied by symbols or figures, percentages, decimals, fractions, ratios, and statistics. For clarity, place a zero before the decimal point to any number expressed as tenths, hundredths, etc.

Example: 0.75



Use the Modern Language Association (MLA) documentation format for citing sources. Even though the MLA style does not include the letter "p." or "pp." in front of the page numbers, place the letters in front of the page numbers for clarity.



Blend quotations into the report, giving credit to the source in the body of the report itself. Summarize and paraphrase whenever possible rather than including many long quotations. Place quotations of four lines or less in quotation marks within the body of the text. Indent quotations of more than four lines ten spaces in block form (TAB key twice).

Use curved quotations marks (smart quotes) in Microsoft Word.


Recommendations and Suggestions:

Recommendations and suggestions should be woven into the narrative as logical conclusions to the preceding analysis of data assembled during the study. Under the heading identified as "Conclusion," state that the college complies or does not comply with the must statements or the should statements in that section.

Under the second-level heading identified as "Recommendations/Suggestions," enter the must statement or should statement in bold italics. Under the third-level heading identified as "Recommendation," state the recommendation (if there is one) for meeting the must statement requirement. Under the third-level heading identified as "Suggestions," state the suggestion (if there is one).



Lists may be numbered

· When sequence is important

· When priority matters

· When the text refers to one or more of the items (for efficient identification)

· When the list is derived from another source and is numbered

Lists may be bulleted

· With the default round bullets

· With subordinate lists indented



Reports should include graphics to highlight relationships among data and to reduce tedious narrative as much as possible. Many graphics prepared by the DSC Office of Institutional Research and Planning will be used within the self-study report. Therefore, for uniformity, look at examples of those works when preparing a new graphic.

· Place graphics where they will help readers most.

· To guarantee ease of readability, try to fit the graphic onto the page with the text that refers to it. Separate the graphic from the text above and below with sufficient white space (2 lines).

· Make graphics large enough to be read easily.

· Use bold for graphic headings

· Identify tables and figures with Arabic numbers that indicate report section, subsection, and table or figure number separated by periods.


Table 3.5.1, Enrollment in Office Campus Courses


Figure 6.4.1, Flow Chart for Budget Preparation

(Graphics which are not tables, such as graphs and charts, are labeled as figures.)

· Place the graphic heading immediately above the graphic.

· Introduce graphics before readers get to them. Do not provide a complicated explanation and then refer the readers to the graphic. Send them to the graphic immediately so they can refer back and forth between your explanation of important points and the graphic as necessary.