You will need to write an advocacy policy brief. In general, a policy brief is a

You will need to write an advocacy policy brief. In general, a policy brief is a concise
summary of a particular issue, the policy options to deal with it, and some
recommendations on the best option. It is aimed at government policymakers and
others who are interested in formulating or influencing policy. In particular, an advocacy
brief argues in favour of a particular course of action.
An advocacy policy brief should:
 Provide enough background for the reader to understand the problem.
 Convince the reader that the problem must be addressed urgently.
 Provide evidence to support one alternative and not others.
 Stimulate the reader to make a decision.
To achieve its objectives, an advocacy policy brief should:
 Be precise and to the point. It should focus on a particular problem or issue. Do
not go into all the details. Instead, provide enough information for the reader to
understand the issue and come to a decision.
 Be based on firm evidence, not just one or two experiments or a single year’s
experience. It should draw evidence from various sources – preferably from
several different areas or organizations.
 Focus on meanings, not methods. Readers are interested in what you found
and what you recommend. They do not need to know the details of your
 Relate to the big picture. The policy brief may build on context-specific findings,
but it should draw conclusions that are more generally applicable
More specifically, the Advocacy Policy Brief should answer the following questions
about this challenge:
1. What are the origins/causes of this global problem?
2. What threat/danger does it pose for humanity or at least for those affected?
3. What dilemmas/difficulties do those seeking to remedy it have to
4. How would you tackle this problem, i.e. what solution would you advocate?
When answering this last question please remember to identify both the
strengths and potential weaknesses of your proposed solution.
Drawing on extensive reading – which must go beyond the readings provided in the
Module Study Guide – identify one challenge to contemporary global politics from the
ones covered throughout the semester that you think critically shapes contemporary
global politics. If you cannot decide which challenge you want to write about, the
suggested challenge you may address is poverty and/or inequality.
Structure of the Advocacy Policy Brief
The Advocacy Policy Brief should be structured in the following way:
1. Title
The title should be short, catchy, and to the point.
 Short: Try to keep it to less than 12 words. If that is not possible, consider
breaking it into a title and subtitle.
 Catchy: It should grab the reader’s attention. Try to include relevant key words,
or find an unusual turn of phrase that sticks in the mind. Also consider using a
question as a title.
 To the point: It should be relevant to the topic.
2. Executive Summary
Some policy briefs include a brief summary or policy message at the beginning –
sometimes printed in a box or in bigger type. This may contain three or four bullets
giving the main points in the policy brief. Ask yourself, “What are the main points you
want policymakers to get – even if they read nothing else?”.
3. Recommendations
You do not have to put your recommendations at the end: a policy brief is not a
detective story where the answer comes on the last page! There are various ways to
present recommendations:
 on the first page – as part of the Summary, or immediately after it, or in a
separate box or sidebar.
 at the end as a separate section.
 distributed throughout the policy brief where they best relate to the text, but with
each recommendation highlighted in some way (e.g. with boldface type).
Wherever you put them:
 State the recommendations clearly and in a way that is easy to understand. You
can do this by starting each recommendation with an action verb and boldfacing
the key words.
 Make them easy to find. Print them in boldface, put them in a different colour, or
put them in a box labelled “Recommendations”. Many readers will skip straight
to the recommendations without reading the rest of the text.
 Keep them short. Do not overwhelm the reader with a long list of
recommendations. Five or six are enough. If you have more recommendations
than this, drop some of them, combine them, or consider writing separate policy
briefs on different aspects of the problem.
 Make them realistic. Policymakers will be more interested in recommendations
that they can implement: that are politically, economically, socially and
technically feasible.
4. Introduction
This is the first part of the main body of the text. Think of it as a statement of the issue
or problem. The introduction does four things:
 It grabs the reader’s attention.
 It introduces the topic.
 It says why it is important.
 It tells the reader why he/she should do something about it.
Here is one way to structure the introduction:
 The problem (What is the problem? Why is it important?)
 Background, context (What happens, where, who is involved?)
 Causes of current situation (Why? Give evidence or examples.)
 Effects of current situation (What effects does it have? Give evidence or
5. The body (the main text)
The body or main text of the advocacy brief should be structured in the following
sections in order to answer the questions for this assignment:
 Problem
 Origins and causes
 Threats and dangers it poses
 Dilemmas and Difficulties that those seeking to remedy it have to address and
 Present the solution advocated for from at least 3 possible solutions
Make sure you structure the text in a logical manner. Do not force the reader to work to
understand the logical flow. Some ways to do this:
 Keep the paragraphs short and restricted to a single idea. Consider putting this
idea into a single phrase or sentence and printing it in boldface at the beginning
of the paragraph.
 Use more headings and subheadings than you would do normally. In a fourpage policy brief, you should have at least six subheadings – one for every two
to four paragraphs.
 Re-read each paragraph and ask yourself “so what?” If it is not obvious what
the paragraph is trying to say, rewrite it or delete it.
6. Policy implications
Here is where you focus on the policy options and implications. Some items to consider
 Suggested revisions in policy. What are the various options?
 Effects of the revised policy or policies. How will the policy changes improve the
situation? Give evidence or examples if possible.
 Advantages and disadvantages of each policy option. What are the potential
benefits? What will it cost? What side-effects might there be?
 If you have not given the recommendations at the beginning of the policy brief,
you can put them here.
7. Conclusions
Include a conclusion to the Advocacy Policy Brief. The conclusion should be:
 Short – one paragraph is enough.
 Do not merely repeat what you have already stated. Instead, draw the text to a
close by explaining how urgent the situation is, or how important it is to select
the policy option you recommend.