Write a policy brief 6 pages in length APA style.Solution
Here is a list of useful steps you should consider when you approach the task of writing your policy brief:
1. Issue: examine the issue you will be dealing with. Answer these questions: is the issue general or specific? How general/specific?
2.Audience: take your primary audience into serious consideration. Your brief should be tailored to the needs of your audience. It makes a fundamental difference for how you must frame your analysis and your recommendation. Is your audience an individual (i.e. Prime Minister) or an organization (i.e. the Government as a whole)? Also, your audience tells you how much context is needed in the brief (i.e.: if you are briefing a European Finance Minister, you don't need to explain him/her what the Euro is and its history).
3.Actors: identify the relevant actors for the issue you are dealing with. This is an essential step, since you will have to analyze their interests in order to make sensible and viable policy recommendations. Identifying the relevant actors is also essential to produce a good assessment of the context (see above) and of the interests that are plug into the issue (see below).
4.Interests: once you have identified the relevant actors, it is necessary to analyze their interests. What are the actors' interests? Which of the relevant actors have similar interests to your audience? Which ones have different interests? How different? This step is important both for the context part of your brief and for the critique of policy options/policy recommendations (see above and below). Without a clear identification of the actors involved in the issue and their interests, your brief will result vague, and therefore not useful.
5.Recommendations: your policy recommendations should reflect the above analysis. Remember that, according to the issue and the audience, your recommendation(s) might not suggest the best policy, but instead the most viable one. This should not limit your recommendation to just compromise policies. If you want to recommend radical change, you can; remember though that such radical action has to be implemented in some ways.
6.How-To: the last step is to suggest your audience the way to 'sell' the policy to its public (the public could be other members of the organizations, voters, other parties, etc.). This last step helps your audience build support/consensus to implement the policy you recommended.
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.
The executive summary aims to convince the reader further that the brief is worth in-depth investigation. It is especially important for an audience that is short of time to clearly see the relevance and importance of the brief in reading the summary. As such, a 1 to 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.
Context and importance of the problem:
The purpose of this element of the brief is to convince the target audience that a current and urgent problem exists which requires them to take action. 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 that clearly establishes the current importance and policy relevance of the issue.
It is worth noting that the length of the problem description may vary considerably from brief to brief depending on the stage on the policy process in focus, e.g. there may be a need to have a much more extensive problem description for policy at the evaluation stage than for one at the option choosing stage.
Critique of policy option(s):
The aim of this element is to detail shortcomings of the current approach or options being implemented and therefore, illustrate both the need for change and focus of where change needs to occur. In doing so, the critique of policy options usually 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.
It is important for the sake of credibility to recognize all opinions in the debate of the issue.
The aim of the policy recommendations element is to provide a detailed and convincing proposal of how the failings of the current policy approach need to change. As such this is achieved by including;
- A breakdown of the specific practical steps or measures that need to be implemented
- Sometimes also includes a closing paragraph re-emphasizing the importance of action.
Although the brief is a short and targeted document, authors sometimes decide that their argument needs further support and so include an appendix. Appendices should be included only when absolutely necessary.
Sources consulted or recommended:
Many writers of the policy brief decide not to include any sourcing of their evidence, as their focus is not on an academic audience (A BIBLIOGRAPHY IS MANDATORY FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT THOUGH). However, if you decide to include a short bibliography then place it at the end. Many writers prefer to lead their readers to further reading and so, include a recommended readings section.
Not surprisingly, many of the recommended readings are other related policy documents produced by their organizations!