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Writing Policy Briefs, AERC Workshop, 2010

This presentation was put together by CommsConsult for the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) biannual research workshop on Policy Engagement held in Mombasa, Kenya, November 2010.

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Writing Policy Briefs, AERC Workshop, 2010

  1. 1. GDNet Research Communication POLICY WORKSHOP Mombasa 25-26 November 2010 SESSION FOUR: POLICY BRIEFS
  2. 2. WRITING EFFECTIVE POLICY BRIEFS <ul><li>Be Focused. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on the evidence. </li></ul><ul><li>Be practical and feasible . </li></ul><ul><li>Be Brief . </li></ul><ul><li>Get to the point . </li></ul><ul><li>Think about your language . </li></ul><ul><li>Make the text accessible . </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Title of paper </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Executive Summary </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Context and importance of the problem </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Critique of policy options </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Policy recommendations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Appendices </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sources consulted or recommended </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Be creative . </li></ul><ul><li>Make your policy brief travel . </li></ul>
  3. 3. WHAT POLICYMAKERS SHOULD CONSIDER… <ul><li>ACCURACY </li></ul><ul><li>Is the evidence correctly describing what it purports to do? Objectivity: The quality of the approach taken to generate evidence and the objectiveness of the source, as well as the extent of contestation regarding evidence. </li></ul><ul><li>CREDIBILITY </li></ul><ul><li>This relates to the reliability of the evidence and therefore whether we can depend on it for monitoring, evaluation or impact assessments. </li></ul><ul><li>GENERALISABILITY </li></ul><ul><li>Is there extensive information or are there just selective cases or pilots? </li></ul><ul><li>RELEVANCE </li></ul><ul><li>Whether evidence is timely, topical and has policy implications. </li></ul><ul><li>AVAILABILITY </li></ul><ul><li>The existence of (good) evidence. </li></ul><ul><li>ROOTEDNESS </li></ul><ul><li>Is evidence grounded in reality? </li></ul><ul><li>PRACTICALITIES </li></ul><ul><li>Whether policymakers have access to the evidence in a useful form and whether the policy implications of the research are feasible and affordable. </li></ul>
  4. 4. WRITING AN EFFECTIVE POLICY BRIEF <ul><li>1. THE OVERVIEW SECTION </li></ul><ul><li>The overall purpose of this section is to briefly convey the key information about the research findings and their policy implications on the front page of the policy brief. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A. Overview text. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This section should provide a summary of the research, its main findings and policy implications. c.250 words. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>B. Key policy pointers. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>These should be brief, action-focused policy pointer(s), which are clearly drawn from the content of the policy brief and respond to its findings. Each should make a clear and direct recommendation for policy action. 5-6 pointers is a likely maximum (there is no set number though – that will depend on the research) and in total these should be expressed in about a total of 75-100 words. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>C. Research findings at a glance. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This section should briefly convey the key facts/ findings of the research. You may wish to present this as a list of short bullet points, or to utilise a graphic/ graph. c.150 words total maximum. </li></ul>
  5. 5. 2. RESEARCH FINDINGS SECTION <ul><li>The overall purpose of this section is to present, in more detail, the research findings and their policy implications, on the inside pages of the policy brief. This should include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A brief section setting up the research findings – what is the background to the issue? Why is it important to research this? What question was the research trying to answer/ what information was it trying to generate? In brief, how did it do this? c.250 words </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The main research findings and policy pointers. This should be written in a clear and accessible style. It should include, as appropriate, action-centred policy pointers that are clearly tied to the text. If there are particular findings you wish to highlight please indicate this so that, where possible, they can be used as pull-out quotes. c.1250- 1350 words in total. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. 3. ABOUT THE RESEARCH SECTION <ul><li>The overall purpose of this section is to present, in more detail, information about the research activity itself, references and suggestions for further reading, on the back page of the policy brief. This should include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>About the research: This should give information about the research that was undertaken and how it was conducted. The purpose is to provide more clarity about research methods/ methodology. c. 250 words </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>References: To texts referred to in the main text. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Further reading: Please provide suggestions for further reading for those interested in further reading on the topic of the policy brief. Please, where possible, consider sources which are accessible to a wide audience both in terms of availability and content – e.g. papers available on the EdQual website. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Author/ research team: Please provide the name of the author(s) of the policy brief and the research team involved in the research covered in the policy brief. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. BACKGROUND INFORMATION TO BE PROVIDED <ul><li>Contact information for editing process (not for publication) : </li></ul><ul><li>Main contact for questions, queries etc: </li></ul><ul><li>Any images or visual graphics , such as graphs, tables, diagrams, photos etc. which you can send to illustrate issues discussed in your policy brief would be very welcome. Please ensure that you have the copyright to any images which you send and are happy for them to be reproduced in this publication. Please ensure that any graphs etc. are visually clear and accessible, and, while colourful, that they will still be clear in black & white reproduction s and suggestions for further reading, on the back page of the policy brief. This should include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>About the research: This should give information about the research that was undertaken and how it was conducted. The purpose is to provide more clarity about research methods/ methodology. c. 250 words </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>References: To texts referred to in the main text. </li></ul></ul>
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    Oct. 16, 2019

This presentation was put together by CommsConsult for the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) biannual research workshop on Policy Engagement held in Mombasa, Kenya, November 2010.

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