Effective policy writing is an essential skill for individuals and organizations aiming to influence decision-makers and add value to policy debates. In general, policy writing refers to the process by which government employees and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) create written documents (“policy products”) for lawmakers and policy professionals to read and act upon. The core element of policy writing is the problem-solution relationship: identifying a problem, making a thorough and convincing argument in favor of a specific solution, and persuading the target audience to make decisions in line with those arguments. A typical policy product written for a policymaker introduces a timely policy problem, presents potential solutions to it, evaluates those solutions, recommends one or more of them, and ends with a convincing argument as to why.
This guide is intended to assist in brainstorming, researching, and writing effective, persuasive policy products. The first half of the guide addresses the research process, namely: selecting a policy problem, identifying your audience, research design, assembling evidence, and evaluating alternative options. The second half focuses on the writing and production process: crafting policy arguments and recommendations, the structure of policy briefs, the editing process, and the dissemination of policy products.