The topic: Women (or womyn) working in the criminal justice system and their specific challenges
How to Write a Briefing Paper
● A briefing paper outlines a particular issue and its background, usually for a government official or other policy maker.
● These decision-makers have to make hard choices about many different topics every day, and they do not have time to research each one in-depth. A briefing paper helps bring a single issue to someone’s attention and fills in key details she or he needs to know.
● It then proposes solutions and recommends improvements.
● Knowing how to write a briefing paper is a useful skill for students, business professionals, politicians and community activists.
● A persuasive briefing paper is concise, well-organized and covers the most important and relevant facts and solutions.
THE FOLLOWING EXPLANATION COMES FROM THE WRITING CENTER AT UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA-CHAPEL HILL. AFTER THIS EXPLANATION, YOU WILL FIND THE FORMAT THAT I REQUIRE FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT.
What are policy briefs?
Imagine that you’re an elected official serving on a committee that sets the standards cars must meet to pass a state inspection. You know that this is a complex issue, and you’d like to learn more about existing policies, the effects of emissions on the environment and on public health, the economic consequences of different possible approaches, and more–you want to make an informed decision. But you don’t have time to research all of these issues! You need a policy brief.
A policy brief presents a concise summary of information that can help readers understand, and likely make decisions about, government policies. Policy briefs may give objective summaries of relevant research, suggest possible policy options, or go even further and argue for particular courses of action.
How do policy briefs differ from other kinds of writing assignments?
You may encounter policy brief assignments in many different academic disciplines, from public health and environmental science to education and social work. If you’re reading this handout because you’re having your first encounter with such an assignment, don’t worry–many of your existing skills and strategies, like using evidence (Links to an external site.) , being concise (Links to an external site.) , and organizing your information effectively
(Links to an external site.) , will help you succeed at this form of writing. However, policy briefs are distinctive in several ways.
In some of your college writing, you’ve addressed your peers, your professors, or other members of your academic field. Policy briefs are usually created for a more general reader or policy maker who has a stake in the issue that you’re discussing.
Tone and terminology
Many academic disciplines discourage using unnecessary jargon, but clear language is especially important in policy briefs. If you find yourself using jargon, try to replace it with more direct language that a non-specialist reader would be more likely to understand. When specialized terminology is necessary, explain it quickly and clearly to ensure that your reader doesn’t get confused.
Policy briefs are distinctive in their focus on communicating the practical implications of research to a specific audience. Suppose that you and your roommate both write research-based papers about global warming. Your roommate is writing a research paper for an environmental science course, and you are writing a policy brief for a course on public policy. You might both use the exact same sources in writing your papers. So, how might those papers differ?
Your roommate’s research paper is likely to present the findings of previous studies and synthesize them in order to present an argument about what we know. It might also discuss the methods and processes used in the research.
Your policy brief might synthesize the same scientific findings, but it will deploy them for a very specific purpose: to help readers decide what they should do. It will relate the findings to current policy debates, with an emphasis on applying the research outcomes rather than assessing the research procedures. A research paper might also suggest practical actions, but a policy brief is likely to emphasize them more strongly and develop them more fully.
*Your policy briefs should include these sections:
● Title:A good title quickly communicates the contents of the brief in a memorable way.
● Executive Summary:This section is often one to two paragraphs long; it includes an overview of the problem and the proposed policy action.
● Context or Scope of Problem:This section communicates the importance of the problem and aims to convince the reader of the necessity of policy action.
● Policy Alternatives:This section discusses the current policy approach and explains proposed options. It should be fair and accurate while convincing the reader why the policy action proposed in the brief is the most desirable.
● Policy Recommendations:This section contains the most detailed explanation of the concrete steps to be taken to address the policy issue.
● Appendices:If some readers might need further support in order to accept your argument but doing so in the brief itself might derail the conversation for other readers, you might include the extra information in an appendix.
● Consulted or Recommended Sources:These should be reliable sources that you have used throughout your brief to guide your policy discussion and recommendations.
Depending on your specific topic and assignment, you might combine sections or break them down into several more specific ones.
They are usually about 3 pages, but they can also run 2 or 4–depending on if you are using charts or adding lots of data. While they are short, they are PRECISE. This is what you would be doing if you worked for any kind of governmental or nonprofit agency,
Think of a problem in your neighborhood or at school or in a neighborhood you drive
through or walk by. If, for example, you think too many people are zooming through
pedestrian crosswalks in the City, how would you propose to solve the problem?
• To whom would you address the policy memo?
• First do some research on the problem itself.
• Then, find another city and see what they are doing to solve the problem.
• Finally, what criminological theory applies to the problem and/or the solution?
You can see from the sample I posted the exact way to write one. You can even use the same
language I used.
Another example would be the university campus during the winter session. Classes often run for
three or four hours at night and when you get out of class, there’s no one around.
To whom would you address that memo? First, do some research on the problem itself—how criminogenic is an area that is poorly -lit?
Next, do some research on use of light to make an area safer in other cities and see how they deal
Finally, what criminological theory address this problem? (Hint: it is was of the first theories we