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awardprogram articles - ask the experts 15th oct 02

How long and detailed should the criteria for an award be?

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In writing criteria for an award, the writer should be trying to convey those issues and elements that the evaluators will be looking for when evaluating a site. The greater the number of issues and elements, then naturally the longer the criteria is likely to be. And the more complicated those issues and elements, then the more detailed the criteria is likely to be.

In reality, there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to criteria, but there are four guidelines which, if followed, will dictate the appropriate length and detail of the criteria:

1.Not everyone will have a high enough attention span or the inclination to wade through pages of criteria. Attempt to write the criteria as simply as possible, and embellish only where failure to do so could lead to ambiguity.

2.Make clear those circumstances that will result in a cessation of any evaluation

3.If the evaluators are looking for certain elements, categorise your criteria under appropriate headings to make it easier for the readers to find these elements and identify what is being asked of them.

4.Consider a two tier system of criteria. Write a long version for people who are not familiar with criteria and a short version with links to more detailed information for people who have seen it all before.

Remember that at the end of the day, the golden words are brevity and precision. Be as brief as your precision will allow and you will have achieved the right length and detail for your criteria.

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