Policy Research Paper
Incorporate devices such as capitalization, bold text, and bulleted items but be consistent, and don’t go crazy; the purpose is to facilitate access to specific sections of the paper for successive readings. University of Michigan--Dearborn, 2006; Writing Effective Memos. Provide a complete and informative cover page that includes the document title, date, the full names and titles of the writer or writers [i.e., Joe Smith, Student, Department of Political Science, University of Southern California].
If it is difficult to find information in your document, policy makers will not use it. The title of the policy memo should be formally written and specific to the policy issue [e.g., “Charter Schools, Fair Housing, and Legal Standards: A Call for Equal Treatment”].
Provide specific criteria to assess either the success or failure of the policies you are recommending. Summarize your main points in a few sentences, then conclude with a description of how the remainder of the memo is organized.
The presentation and content of the memo should be polished, easy to understand, and free of jargon.
Writing professionally does not imply that you can’t be passionate about your topic, but your policy recommendations should be grounded in solid reasoning and a succinct writing style.
To address this, policy memos should include a clear cost-benefit analysis that considers anticipated outcomes, the potential impact on stakeholder groups you have identified, clear and quantifiable performance goals, and how success is to be measured.
A policy memo requires clear and simple language that avoids unnecessary jargon and concepts of an academic discipline. Use one paragraph to develop one idea or argument and make that idea or argument explicit within the first one or two sentences.