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Writing Resources

This guide contains all of the ASC's writing resources. If you do not see a topic, suggest it through the suggestion box on the Writing home page.

Policy Brief

Writing a Policy Brief

A policy brief is a short action-oriented document, written for a target audience to present a new policy, research findings, or recommendations for a policy change.

A policy brief often includes some of the following sections

  • Keep it short and memorable.
  • Use it to capture the reader’s attention.
  • It should communicate the purpose of the brief.

Executive Summary

The purpose of this section is to provide the reader with a high-level overview of the policy brief.

  • The section is 1-2 paragraphs in length.
  • The problem or issue is clearly stated.
  • It provides the main focus of the solution.

This section provides details about the problem and convinces the reader that immediate action is necessary.

  • Focuses on the problem.
  • It provides 4 or 5 of the most important facts concerning the failures of the current policy.
  • This section concludes with information about the impact of the current failures.
Policy Alternatives

The purpose of this section is to convince the reader of the best solution.

  • Discuss the current policy.
  • Provide a discussion of the alternatives considered.
  • Provide information concerning how each option was evaluated.
  • Provide the reader with a balanced argument discussing why the chosen option is the best alternative.
  • This section sometimes includes examples, data, comparisons, and visuals (graphs, tables, charts).
Policy Recommendations

This section is the “how-to” section. Explain how the preferred option will be implemented.

  • Includes an overview of what actions need to be taken by each stakeholder.
  • The steps need to be practical.
  • The reader should understand how the actions work together to achieve the desired result.  
  • This section sometimes includes visuals (graphs, tables, charts).

This section contains a reference list of the resources used to support the information provided in the policy brief.


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