ERIC Number: ED192343
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1980-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Translating the Law into Common Language: A Protocol Study. Technical Report No. 8.
Bond, Sandra J.; And Others
To determine if people who wrote legal documents could read such documents with understanding and rewrite them to be understandable to the general public, eight experienced government writers were asked to rewrite a portion of a government regulation for a general audience. The writers--four lawyers and four nonlawyers--were audio recorded as they revised the document to discover the protocols they were using as they worked. Their revisions were then ranked for comprehensibility. The two writers of the revisions rated highest had the following characteristics in common: (1) they were both lawyers, (2) they were the only writers who stated that they felt confident they had understood the regulation and that they had generated a satisfactory revision, (3) they were the only writers who read the passage completely through before attempting any revision, (4) they were very concerned with the appearance of the regulation, (5) they interpreted the task of revision broadly, (6) their editing protocols were laced with references to writing rules, (7) they were in touch with their audience, and (8) they were the only writers to reread their revisions. In contrast, the writers of the revisions rated poorest did not realize the needs of their audience. In addition, they misunderstood important aspects of the regulation and they interpreted the instructions for revision in a very narrow sense. (Guidelines for revision based on the findings are included.) (FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC.; Siegel & Gale, Inc., New York, NY.; Carnegie-Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA.