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National Institute of Justice Style Guide

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2022
34 pages

This guide, which was developed by the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ), contains principles for the writing style of documents prepared by or submitted to the NIJ.


The three major parts of the guide are titled "General Style and Editorial Guidelines," "Notes and References," and "Web Writing." Topics addressed in Part I, General Style and Editorial Guidelines, are abbreviations and acronyms, academic degrees and titles, capitalization, compounding and unit modifiers, dates, italics, lists, preferred terms and usage, punctuation, ranks and civilian titles, state names, trademarks, and writing keyword and referral text for content on NIJ.gov and NCJRS.gov. Part II, "Notes and References," specifies style principles related to general format for notes, multiple citations in one note, using short forms in subsequent notes, using "Accessed on" in online source citations, exit notices on NIJ.gov, and citing indirect sources. Part II also specifies style principles for books, periodicals, NIJ final reports and OJP publications, online sources, interviews and personal communication, conference and other unpublished papers, and solicitations/funding opportunities. Part III, "Web Writing," addresses examples of effective web writing, the delivery, and NIJ's publishing steps. A new Appendix A: Person-First Language was added in April 2022 to address individuals in writing while decoupling traits, conditions, or actions committed by the people being described.

Date Published: April 1, 2022