NOTE ON TOPICS:
FOR THIS BRIEF, YOUR BRIEF
Assignment: You are to write a 2.5-5 page policy brief following the guidelines below. You get to choose the policy you will analyze in this assignment. One suggestion is to choose a “small” policy: rather than grand proposals or overarching policy schemes (e.g., Obamacare), more targeted policies or ones that focus on limited and immediate problems are easier to fit into the structure outlined below. However, any public policy from any level of government is acceptable.
NOTE: Spelling, grammar, word choice, etc. count. Be careful, read what you have read. Make sure it looks and reads like a professional document.
Policy Brief Description
The purpose of the policy brief is to convince the target audience of the urgency of the current problem and the need to adopt the preferred alternative or course of action outlined and therefore, serve as an impetus for action.
The paper should be:
• Focused – All aspects of the policy brief need to strategically focused on achieving the intended goal of convincing
• Professional, not academic –The common audience for a policy brief is interested to know the writer’s perspective on the problem and potential solutions based on the new evidence.
• Evidence-based – The policy brief is supported by evidence that the problem exists and the consequences of adopting particular alternatives.
• Limited – The focus of the brief needs to be limited to a particular problem or area of a problem.
• Succinct – Not a long research paper; ~5 pages best
• Understandable – Use clear and simple language (i.e. not the jargon and concepts of an academic discipline).
• Accessible – facilitate the ease of use of the document by the target audience and subdivide the text using clear descriptive titles to guide the reader.
• Promotional – the policy brief should catch the eye of the potential audience in order to create a favorable impression.
• Practical and feasible – the policy brief is an action-oriented tool targeting policy practitioners. The brief must provide arguments based on what is actually happening in practice with a particular policy.
The Policy Brief – Structure — USE THIS STRUCTURE
1. Title of the paper – The title aims to catch the attention of the reader and compel him/her to read on and so needs to be descriptive, punchy and relevant.
2. Executive summary – Aims to convince the reader further that the brief is worth in-depth investigation. A 1-2 paragraph executive summary commonly includes:
. A description of the problem addressed;
• A statement on why the current approach/policy option needs to be changed;
• Your recommendations for action.
3. Context and importance of the problem – The context and importance of the problem is both the introductory and first building block of the brief. As such, it usually includes the following:
– A clear statement of the problem or issue in focus.
– A short overview of the root causes of the problem
– A clear statement of the policy implications of the problem which clearly establishes the current importance and policy relevance of the issue.
4. Critique of policy option(s) – detail shortcomings of the current approach or options being implemented and illustrate both the need for change and focus of where change needs to occur. Includes the following:
– A short overview of the policy option(s) in focus
– An argument illustrating why and how the current or proposed approach is failing.
5. Policy recommendations – Provide a detailed and convincing proposal of how the failings of the current policy approach need to changed. This is achieved by including:
– A breakdown of the specific practical steps or measures that need to be implemented.
– A closing paragraph re-emphasizing the importance of action.
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