What is a Policy Brief?

What is a Policy Brief?

A policy brief is a commonly-used advocacy tool which outlines a policy issue, lists alternatives under consideration, and recommends the best course of action to remedy the problem. Policy briefs are intended to be concise summaries aimed at government policymakers or stakeholders who formulate and implement policy. The purpose of a policy brief is to convince your audience about the magnitude and urgency of a policy problem as well as the need to adopt a particular solution.

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Components of the Policy Brief

A policy brief typically includes the following components:

Title
Executive Summary
Scope of Policy Problem
Critique of Policy Alternatives
Policy Recommendations
Reference Page
Assignment Guidelines

For this assignment, you will build upon the knowledge you have gained learning about Bardach’s Eightfold Path to effective policymaking. Using the health care issue you self-selected in Lesson 09, please write a 2-3 page (1000-1500 word), policy brief. Your document should be single-spaced and use 12-point font. Please note that your references do not count toward the page length requirement.

You should follow the guidelines below when structuring your paper:

Title

At the beginning of your policy brief, please provide a short and memorable title to introduce your health topic. Remember, this is the first thing your audience will read so try to make it interesting and attention-grabbing. Try to limit the title to 10 words or fewer.

Executive Summary

Following the title, please include a short, 1-2 paragraph overview of your policy brief. The purpose of an executive summary is to quickly acquaint your audience with the context of your document and entice them to read further. Typically, your executive summary should contain a brief statement about your policy problem, high-level background information, reasoning for action, and your key recommendations. Your executive summary will provide your audience with a roadmap of what will be discussed in your document; therefore, the information presented should be written in the same order as you cover in your policy brief.

Scope of Policy Problem

In this section of your policy brief, you will define your health policy problem. Think back to Steps One and Two in Bardach’s Eightfold Path. You’ll want to make sure your problem definition explains the magnitude and importance of the issue. Remember to quantify if you’re able so that the reader can gauge the impact of this particular issue. In addition to defining the problem, you’ll also want to include some background information on your topic. Consider addressing the stakeholder groups involved, root cause(s) and extent of the problem, and policy implications. Think about similar policies that currently address the problem at hand. Consulting at least three to four reputable, policy-related sources in this section will help you fully address the scope of the problem.

Critique of Policy Alternatives

Next, you’ll need to analyze your narrowed list of policy alternatives. This section should be the most in-depth part of your policy brief. Aim for approximately 1-1.5 pages in length in order to provide the reader with a comprehensive analysis. Before beginning this section, review Bardach’s Steps Three and Four from the lesson and textbook. The goal is to present a full range of workable options and compare how likely each alternative would be in successfully addressing the issue. Don’t limit yourself to the policy option you prefer or will recommend. Consider all options and remember that the alternatives you select to analyze should be both reasonable and viable. Compare implementation strategies including political feasibility, organizations, agencies, or levels of government that would be involved in the process, time it would take to get the options adopted, and source of financing and/or budgetary restrictions. Defend your arguments against contradictory evidence. Use evidence from your research to support your ideas. Again, consulting at least four to five reputable sources in this section will help to provide a well-fleshed out critique.

Policy Recommendations

To conclude, you will present the case for your preferred alternative, including a set of action steps to be taken to implement the policy. Consult Steps Five through Seven in the Eightfold Path to help you select a policy option. In this section of your policy brief, you should explain why the particular alternative is the best course of action as well as why policymakers should adopt it. Based on the information you included in the previous section, it should be clear to the reader why this option is preferred. Provide a list of 3-5 specific and feasible recommendations that must be implemented as part of the strategy. Your policy recommendations should be persuasive and sound.

Reference Page

At the conclusion of your policy brief, please include a reference page listing all of your sources. At a minimum, five reputable, policy-related sources should be cited. You should follow the APA format when writing out your citations. For more information on APA style including guidelines on how to cite various sources, please visit the Purdue Owl website

Policy Brief Assignment Rubric
Policy Brief Assignment Rubric
Criteria Ratings Pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome
Problem Identification

10.0 pts
• Critically defines the health policy issue. • Accurately quantifies the problem. • Frequently discusses the magnitude and relevance of the problem, root cause(s), and policy implications. • Demonstrates an in-depth understanding of how the issue affects various stakeholder groups.

7.0 pts
• Somewhat defines the health policy issue. • Generally quantifies the problem. • Occasionally discusses the magnitude and relevance of the problem, root cause(s), and policy implications. • Demonstrates a moderate understanding of how the issue affects various stakeholder groups.

4.0 pts
• Sparsely defines the health policy issue. • Fails to quantify the problem. • Seldom discusses the magnitude and relevance of the problem, root cause(s), and policy implications. • Demonstrates a narrow understanding of how the issue affects various stakeholder groups.

0.0 pts
Not Acceptable

10.0 pts

 

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome
Executive Summary/Policy Context

10.0 pts
• Correctly identifies and critically assesses previous policy actions, if any, taken to address the health problem. • Provides an evaluation of the effectiveness of previous action and explanation of why more action is necessary. • Provides a compelling explanation of the consequences of inaction.

7.0 pts
• Correctly identifies previous policy actions, if any, taken to address the health problem. • Provides a general description of previous efforts but evaluation is too general, not interpreted, or superficial. • Provides an adequate explanation of the consequences of inaction.

4.0 pts
• Correctly identifies previous policy actions, if any, taken to address the health problem. • Offers simplistic, or undeveloped evaluation that makes faulty assumptions, or errors of fact. • Not clear why more action is necessary.

0.0 pts
Not Acceptable

10.0 pts

 

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome
Critique of Policy Options

10.0 pts
• Presents a comprehensive range of policy options. • Effectively compares each alternative and fully addresses likelihood of success. • Thoroughly explores the main arguments for each option, including implementation strategies, political feasibility and costs/budget constraints.

7.0 pts
• Presents a moderate range of policy options. • Adequately compares each alternative and to some degree addresses likelihood of success. • Partially explores the main arguments for each option, including implementation strategies, political feasibility and costs/budget constraints.

4.0 pts
• Presents a limited range of policy options. • Ineffectively compares each alternative and minimally addresses likelihood of success. • Superficially explores the main arguments for each option, including implementation strategies, political feasibility and costs/budget constraints.

0.0 pts
Not Acceptable

10.0 pts

 

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome
Policy Recommendations (Compelling Argument)

10.0 pts
• Conclusively endorses one alternative and describes why this option is the preferred approach. • Provides 3-5 comprehensive action steps as part of the implementation strategy. • Recommendations are fully developed, persuasive, and feasible.

7.0 pts
• Adequately describes why this option is the preferred approach. • Provides 3-5 partial action steps as part of the implementation strategy. • Recommendations are somewhat developed, persuasive, and feasible.

4.0 pts
• Fails to endorse one alternative or describe why this option is the preferred approach. • Provides inadequate action steps as part of the implementation strategy. • Recommendations are not fully developed, persuasive, or feasible.

0.0 pts
Not Acceptable

10.0 pts

 

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome
Structure and Organization

5.0 pts
• Writing shows high degree of attention to logic and reasoning of points. Unity clearly leads the reader to the conclusion and stirs thought regarding the topic. • Main points well developed with high quality and quantity support. Reveals high degree of critical thinking. • Meets all formal and assignment requirements and evidences attention to detail; all margins, spacing and indentations are correct; brief is neat and correctly assembled with professional look.

3.0 pts
• Writing is coherent and logically organized with transitions used between ideas and paragraphs to create coherence. Overall unity of ideas is present. • Main points well developed with quality supporting details and quantity. Critical thinking is weaved into points • Meets format and assignment requirements; margins, spacing, and indentations are correct; brief is neat and correctly assembled.

2.0 pts
• Writing is coherent and logically organized. Some points remain misplaced and stray from the topic. Transitions evident but not used throughout brief. • Main points are present with limited detail and development. Some critical thinking is present. • Meets format and assignment requirements; generally correct margins, spacing, and indentations; brief is neat but may have some assembly errors.

0.0 pts
Not Acceptable

5.0 pts

 

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome
Grammar and Mechanics

5.0 pts
• Brief is free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors; absent of fragments, comma splices, and run-ons. • Error free and appropriate use of professional terms. • All sources are cited correctly according to APA format. Reference list is robust and consists of reputable, policy-related sources.

3.0 pts
• Brief has few spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors allowing reader to follow ideas clearly. Very few fragments or run-ons. • Few errors and/or misuse of professional terms. • Most sources are cited correctly according to APA format. Reference list is adequate and consists of mostly reputable, policy-related sources.

2.0 pts
• Most spelling, punctuation, and grammar correct allowing reader to progress though brief. Some errors remain. • Misuse of or confusion with professional terms. • Few sources are cited correctly according to APA format. Reference list is meager and consists of few reputable, policy-related sources.

0.0 pts
Not Acceptable

5.0 pts

 

Total Points: 50.0

(Links to an external site.)

Prior to beginning your policy brief, I would encourage you to review the grading rubric below for this assignment. The rubric clearly outlines how you will be graded on each element of your paper as well as the point values for the above criteria.
Perhaps your title could be, Should more policies be enacted to deter individuals from using Vaping, e-Cigarettes, and Smoking?

You can tweak it but the Problem Definition should be clear because that will help you come up with 3 Alternative Solutions and be able to make a recommendation based on the research you did to see if present policies are or are not working. Remember to use Grammarly and to do a title page (sample I sent), APA in-text citations, paraphrase, only about 4 sentences of quotes with page numbers as indicated by APA, use a separate Reference page, and read your paper aloud before you submit. Remember the Executive Summary is completed last.

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