How to write a Policy Brief

It’s late at night time, and also you’re determined to discover a good film. You begin scrolling via the hundreds of choices supplied in your favourite video streaming service.

What if as a substitute of a brief two-line abstract of every film, the service solely supplied a three-page detailed overview and evaluation? Who has the time (or want) to learn an essay about every film? All you actually need are just a few fundamentals in regards to the plot that can assist you resolve whether or not you wish to decide to spending the subsequent two hours watching the movie.

Coverage briefs are kinda just like the brief film summaries on a streaming service.

Film summaries embrace plot fundamentals that can assist you resolve whether or not you wish to watch the film. Coverage briefs embrace the fundamentals a few social downside or authorities coverage and assist making a decision about the issue.

Simple sufficient, proper?

So what is a coverage transient, precisely? Let’s unpack the definition above a bit of extra, so you will get a greater sense of what a coverage transient is and find out how to write one.

What Is a Coverage Temporary?


What’s a coverage transient? It’s a brief, concise abstract of a social downside or authorities coverage that helps readers not solely perceive an issue or coverage but in addition make an knowledgeable determination about it.

The objective is not to offer each doable element in regards to the topic. The objective is to offer a concise overview (often in a web page or two) that helps an in any other case uninformed viewers perceive the issue.

What Do You Must Take into account Earlier than You Write a Coverage Temporary?

As with all writing project, you shouldn’t dive into the venture with out a minimum of some quantity of planning.

Step 1: Discover a matter

Begin by discovering a subject to write down about.

Social issues and authorities insurance policies could be fairly broad. So don’t attempt to write about an impossibly broad matter like smoking. As an alternative, begin to slender your focus to one thing extra manageable, like a ban on smoking in public areas.

As you’re employed on narrowing your matter, be sure that it’s sufficiently narrowed. As an example, let’s say you’re writing a few ban on smoking in public areas.

You would possibly focus your dialogue to your state and its particular insurance policies relating to smoking in eating places, bars, and tribal lands (equivalent to casinos). Otherwise you would possibly deal with a smoking ban on faculty campuses or hospital campuses.

Step 2: Perceive the subject and establish an precise downside

When you’ve chosen your matter, you’ll want to totally perceive it and have the ability to establish an precise downside.


To grasp your matter, you’ll want to get to work researching. (Don’t overlook to examine along with your prof to see should you ought to cite your sources in APA, MLA, or another quotation model.)

Your objective in researching will not be solely to search for credible sources to help your claims but in addition to establish an precise downside.

As an example, should you’re writing about smoking bans, what’s the issue?

Is the issue ban on smoking in all public areas (together with bars) causes companies to lose prospects and income? Does a statewide ban on smoking in public locations exclude bars, due to this fact creating an pointless well being hazard to each patrons and workers?

The issue you establish on this stage of the planning course of is a bit of just like the thesis assertion in a regular essay. It focuses your matter and offers a transparent assertion of what is going to be mentioned.

After you’ve narrowed your matter, researched the topic, and recognized a particular downside to write down about, you can begin to draft your coverage transient.

How Do You Write a Coverage Temporary?


You’ll want your essay-writing abilities to write down a coverage transient, however a coverage transient will not be an essay. It’s organized with headings and written with the aim of rapidly and concisely explaining your topic.

Easy methods to manage a coverage transient

A coverage transient is usually organized by headings (and will comprise some bullet factors).

The sort and order of headings to your coverage transient will rely in your course project. Under I’ve supplied a set of frequent headings.

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Instance coverage transient headings

Background (or Abstract): This part will embrace a short overview of the issue and probably what actions needs to be taken.

Coverage Description (or Scope of Drawback): On this part, talk about the difficulty or coverage. Persuade readers that an issue exists and that motion must be taken on the coverage.

Coverage Options: Right here, talk about the opposite doable alternate options to the issue. These could also be options that individuals have already carried out or could also be proposed options.

Keep in mind, these alternate options are not the options that you’re proposing.

These are what you understand as inferior options, so that you’ll want to clarify why they aren’t efficient. (Consider it as a rebuttal of a counterargument in an argumentative essay.)

Coverage Suggestions: This part is probably the most detailed of the sections and may define particular steps that should be taken with a view to most successfully tackle the difficulty.

Extra Sources (and/or Sources Consulted/Cited): This part isn’t at all times a part of a coverage transient however contains any further sources for readers to evaluation to study extra in regards to the topic. It might additionally comprise an inventory of sources you might have consulted and/or cited with a view to write your coverage transient.

Applicable phrase alternative and tone


Coverage briefs have to transient, factual, and concise.

Coverage briefs have to transient, factual, and concise.

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That is not the time to incorporate flowery language and grand metaphors with a view to paint an image. It’s not the time to attempt to tug on the guts strings and make heart-wrenching emotional appeals, both.

This is the time to succinctly state your case. Remove wordiness, select probably the most concise phrases, and keep away from slang and jargon. However do make use of rhetorical gadgets to be persuasive.

Undecided wording could make that a lot of a distinction? Try these two examples:

Poorly written description of the issue

Think about going to work day-after-day or going out at night time and having to breathe in poisonous chemical substances. Think about a enterprise saying it’s okay to pump hundreds of poisonous fumes right into a enterprise, and nobody says a factor about it. This wretched atmosphere doesn’t even appear doable, however it’s precisely the sort of well being hazard that servers and bartenders in bars face every time they go to work if their employers enable patrons to smoke contained in the bars. It’s additionally the identical horrible atmosphere different prospects face in the event that they merely wish to go right into a bar to have just a few drinks, and it’s merely terrible.

This instance is just too wordy. It additionally makes an attempt to make use of an emotional enchantment to color an image of horrible situations for each prospects and workers.

It sounds extra like a poorly written introduction paragraph to an essay slightly than a well-written coverage description.

Improved description of the issue

Permitting smoking in bars places the well being of patrons and bar workers in danger.

This instance is concise and states the issue immediately, guaranteeing that the viewers will perceive the issue being addressed.

And with that, (hopefully) you now don’t should spend time questioning, “What’s a coverage transient?” As an alternative, you may sort out your project with confidence—and perhaps even have time to stream a film in addition!

Searching for a Little Extra Assist?


Have a greater understanding of a coverage transient and are prepared to begin writing however hitting the brick wall of author’s block? Strive these confirmed methods to beat author’s block.

Nonetheless gazing a clean display and feeling a bit of overwhelmed on the considered writing a coverage transient? Try these instance coverage briefs from our database to see how others have tackled the project.