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AERC POLICY BRIEF
WORKSHOP
The Art of Policy Briefs
2015
OBJECTIVES OF THIS SESSION
What is a
policy
brief?
Planning
for policy
influence
Messaging
Structure
and
design
Wrap-up Su...
Policy briefs are short documents that present the findings and
recommendations of a research project to a non-specialist
...
RESEARCH COMMUNICATION BARRIERS
2. PLANNING FOR POLICY INFLUENCE
REMEMBER YOUR AUDIENCDE
• Who are your readers?
• How knowledgeable are they about the subject?
• How open are they to the...
PLAN ACCORDINGLY
•Policy makers are not a homogenous group
•Needs differ by sector, ministry etc.
•Level of position (nati...
THE EVIDENCE
• How legitimate and credible are my
findings?
• Building credibility:
Make sure your figures are correct
an...
YOUR LINKS AND ENGAGEMENT
Be pro-active…
• “Effective policy entrepreneurs – or champions – will make
the most of networks...
3. CREATING AN EFFECTIVE MESSAGE
GOOD RESEARCH MERITS GOOD COMMUNICATION
Qualityofresearch
Quality of communication
Source: Communicating Food Policy Resea...
DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE MESSAGES
Think about the following questions:
1. What is the objective of your message?
2. Why is thi...
MEMORABLE MESSAGES
• What do you want to say, how and to whom?
Messages should be designed with audiences in mind and tai...
MESSAGE PYRAMID
• What is your key
message?
• What messages fall out
of it?
• What evidence do you
have to support your
me...
WHAT DOES AN EFFECTIVE MESSAGE LOOK LIKE?
The 4Cs model:
1. Comprehension
2. Connection
3. Credibility
4. Contagiousness
...
A GOOD MESSAGE SHOULD
• Raise awareness
• Create interest
• Foster desire to act
• Prompt an action
T THE POWER OF WORDSo change
radically your message, and their effect on the
REMEMBER
ACTIVITY (based on the 4C’s)
1. Did you instantly understand what the brief is about?
2. Did it evoke an emotional respons...
4. POLICY BRIEF STRUCTURE
1. Executive Statement
2. Introduction
3. Methodology
4. Results and
Conclusions
5. Implicationsand
Recommendations
6. Ref...
BE VISUAL
“Effective policy
entrepreneurs – or
champions – will make
the most of networks and
connections”
5. COMMON POLICY BRIEF PITFALLS TO BE AWARE OF
• Complicated tables and graphs (that no one
understands)
• No visuals – pi...
EXECUTIVE STATEMENT:
Top tip: Try to complete this paragraph…
‘The objective of this policy brief is to ______ (action ver...
Executive statements examples
Copper price and exchange rate dynamics in Zambia re-examined
EXECUTIVE STATEMENT
“ The obje...
• Top Tip:
• To frame this think about how:
• (1)The recommendations you are suggesting could have a
positive effect on pe...
INTRODUCTION
2. Introduction
• Start with a sentence piquing the
interest of your reader
• Informative sentences building ...
METHODOLOGY
3. Methodology
• Less is more
• Remove jargon
• Put yourself in the policymakers
shoes
RESULTS & FINDINGS
4. Results/findings
• Details of your findings/evidence
• ‘Meat’ of argument
• Don’t include findings n...
4.5 Implications and RECOMMENDATIONS
5. Implications and
Recommendations
• Recommendations: What
specifically do you think...
IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS EXAMPLES
The objective for this policy brief is to convince policymakers at the State Min...
REFERENCES
6. References
• Don’t include everything
• Choose those that most strongly
support your recommendations
The art of policy briefs
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Presentation at the AERC Policy Briefs workshop - Addis Ababa, December 2015

The art of policy briefs

  1. 1. AERC POLICY BRIEF WORKSHOP The Art of Policy Briefs 2015
  2. 2. OBJECTIVES OF THIS SESSION What is a policy brief? Planning for policy influence Messaging Structure and design Wrap-up Surgery
  3. 3. Policy briefs are short documents that present the findings and recommendations of a research project to a non-specialist readership. They are often recommended as a key tool for communicating research findings to policy actors [who often do not have the time to read long technical research documents] (Young and Quinn, 2007) In simple terms… A policy brief is a clear message tailored for a policy audience. WHAT IS A POLICY BRIEF?
  4. 4. RESEARCH COMMUNICATION BARRIERS
  5. 5. 2. PLANNING FOR POLICY INFLUENCE
  6. 6. REMEMBER YOUR AUDIENCDE • Who are your readers? • How knowledgeable are they about the subject? • How open are they to the message? • What are their interests & concerns?
  7. 7. PLAN ACCORDINGLY •Policy makers are not a homogenous group •Needs differ by sector, ministry etc. •Level of position (national vs sub-national) •Role in policy-making process (level of power) •Political and media context: opportunities?
  8. 8. THE EVIDENCE • How legitimate and credible are my findings? • Building credibility: Make sure your figures are correct and verifiable Present your research clearly and convincingly Look for stakeholder/local involvement Collaborate with other researchers
  9. 9. YOUR LINKS AND ENGAGEMENT Be pro-active… • “Effective policy entrepreneurs – or champions – will make the most of networks but will also use • connections or negotiating skills, be persistent, develop ideas, proposals and expertise well in • advance of policy ‘windows’”. • – Neilson, S. (2001), IDRC
  10. 10. 3. CREATING AN EFFECTIVE MESSAGE
  11. 11. GOOD RESEARCH MERITS GOOD COMMUNICATION Qualityofresearch Quality of communication Source: Communicating Food Policy Research, IFPRI (March 2005)
  12. 12. DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE MESSAGES Think about the following questions: 1. What is the objective of your message? 2. Why is this important? 3. Who are your target audiences? 4. What do you want them to do? 5. How exactly should they do it?
  13. 13. MEMORABLE MESSAGES • What do you want to say, how and to whom? Messages should be designed with audiences in mind and tailored to fit their needs – identify your audience Messages should be memorable, engaging and limited in number – KISS!! Messages should be simple – avoid jargon and scientific terminologies Messages may need to answer the question: ‘why do I care?’
  14. 14. MESSAGE PYRAMID • What is your key message? • What messages fall out of it? • What evidence do you have to support your message? Primary Message Main Messages Supporting Points
  15. 15. WHAT DOES AN EFFECTIVE MESSAGE LOOK LIKE? The 4Cs model: 1. Comprehension 2. Connection 3. Credibility 4. Contagiousness Make your messages pass the ‘Grandma Test’’ “The 4Cs model is a useful tool for objectively evaluating the effectiveness of many forms of communication: what’s working, what isn’t working, and why.”
  16. 16. A GOOD MESSAGE SHOULD • Raise awareness • Create interest • Foster desire to act • Prompt an action
  17. 17. T THE POWER OF WORDSo change radically your message, and their effect on the
  18. 18. REMEMBER
  19. 19. ACTIVITY (based on the 4C’s) 1. Did you instantly understand what the brief is about? 2. Did it evoke an emotional response? 3. Was it or the messenger credible? 4. Did you feel the message “stuck” and made you want to react in some way? Apply each of these questions to the policy brief handed to your group and report back during plenary. Also try to rate how well each of the briefs does against these questions on a scale of 1-10 (i.e. On a scale of 1-10 say how well the policy brief was able to convey the messenger as credible).
  20. 20. 4. POLICY BRIEF STRUCTURE
  21. 21. 1. Executive Statement 2. Introduction 3. Methodology 4. Results and Conclusions 5. Implicationsand Recommendations 6. References
  22. 22. BE VISUAL “Effective policy entrepreneurs – or champions – will make the most of networks and connections”
  23. 23. 5. COMMON POLICY BRIEF PITFALLS TO BE AWARE OF • Complicated tables and graphs (that no one understands) • No visuals – pictures can add context and interest • Recommendations not included • Text heavy and too much jargon – keep it simple • Lacks clear message from the beginning • Too much focus on methodology • Policy brief not seen as an opportunity to engage with policy audiences
  24. 24. EXECUTIVE STATEMENT: Top tip: Try to complete this paragraph… ‘The objective of this policy brief is to ______ (action verb – like convince, inform) ______ (target audience(s) – e.g. Ministry of Agriculture) that ______ (what should happen – e.g. they should invest in road infrastructure) (ODI Rapid)
  25. 25. Executive statements examples Copper price and exchange rate dynamics in Zambia re-examined EXECUTIVE STATEMENT “ The objective of this policy brief is to inform the central bank and the Ministry of Finance that changes in copper price have a significant bearing on the stability of the kwacha exchange rate. Changes in copper price affect income and revenue from the mining sector, and through spending, inflation and consequently the exchange rate. Thus, an appropriate policy response is required to limit vulnerabilities to adverse copper price movements and ensure maximum benefits are derived from copper price booms.”
  26. 26. • Top Tip: • To frame this think about how: • (1)The recommendations you are suggesting could have a positive effect on people’s lives, their environment and wellbeing. • (2) Add context to your work by relating it to news and events that are prevalent within the media.
  27. 27. INTRODUCTION 2. Introduction • Start with a sentence piquing the interest of your reader • Informative sentences building to your research • A statement shaping the view that you will support or build upon in the next sections
  28. 28. METHODOLOGY 3. Methodology • Less is more • Remove jargon • Put yourself in the policymakers shoes
  29. 29. RESULTS & FINDINGS 4. Results/findings • Details of your findings/evidence • ‘Meat’ of argument • Don’t include findings not relevant to your core message
  30. 30. 4.5 Implications and RECOMMENDATIONS 5. Implications and Recommendations • Recommendations: What specifically do you think should change? (Max 3) • Implications: What general policy changes/actions do the results point to?
  31. 31. IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS EXAMPLES The objective for this policy brief is to convince policymakers at the State Ministries of Health of the need to increase adolescents and young people ’s (AY P) access to youth- friendly sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. Implication: “Current limited access to youth-friendly sexual and reproductive services could lead to an increase in the number of sexually transmitted infections among youth” Recommendation: “Policymakers at the State Ministries of Health should create an enabling environment to increase AYP’s access to youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services by increasing the number of youth friendly SRH service points available to youth in their states, training existing health care providers to be able to deliver youth friendly SRH services and by increasing the awareness of AYPs about the availability and location of youth friendly services”
  32. 32. REFERENCES 6. References • Don’t include everything • Choose those that most strongly support your recommendations
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    Oct. 13, 2019
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    Sep. 23, 2019

Presentation at the AERC Policy Briefs workshop - Addis Ababa, December 2015

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