How to Write a Policy Brief | 22 Great Examples

Policy Brief Template is created for government policymakers and other people interested in influencing or formulating policy in the proper format of a form. It is a short document that describes a particular policy issue or advocates for a particular position.

They can also be given to students as writing assignments to be delivered to the professor and your class.

Free Templates

Free Policy Brief Example 01 for Word

Editable Policy Brief Example 02 for Word

Printable Policy Brief Example 03 for Word

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Printable Policy Brief Example 05 for Word

Free Policy Brief Example 06 for Word

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Editable Policy Brief Example 08 for Word

Printable Policy Brief Example 09 for Word

Editable Policy Brief Example 10 for Word

Free Policy Brief Example 11 for Word

Free Policy Brief Example 12 for Word

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Printable Policy Brief Example 14 for Word

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Free Policy Brief Example 16 for Word

Editable Policy Brief Example 17 for Word

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Free Policy Brief Example 21 for Word

Editable Policy Brief Example 22 for Word

    How Policy Brief is Different

    Following are the ways in which it differ from other kinds of writing assignments:


    These are usually created for government policymakers, or anybody interested in understanding how a policy change could affect them. This means that every policy brief should not be written for experts only but for regular people who can make decisions accordingly.

    This means that sometimes, your reader may be a supporter of your work or an opponent.


    Non-profit organizations that deal with ocean pollution could receive support from the general public and opposition from government officials. This difference is important to understand as it helps you craft the best message for both your supporters and antagonists.

    If you are writing it for a class assignment, make sure to ask your professor to identify the intended audience.

    Tone and terminology

    Since we have established that it is written for regular people who can make policy changes, the tone and terminologies must be simple and easy to understand.

    As much as possible, get rid of any academic jargon and use direct terms that your audience can understand. If you need to introduce specialized terminologies, explain them clearly so that your reader doesn’t get confused or stuck.


    The purpose differentiates it from other forms of writing, like regular research papers about different topics. While a regular research paper is written to educate people and present information based on research, it guides the reader to make decisions that affect change.

    Although the same argument is presented as the regular research paper in this case, the policy brief relates the research findings to current policy debates. Thus, it helps the reader take action on the best decision based on the information presented.


    To ensure that the tone is consistent with the purpose of the brief and directly communicates with the target audience, these briefs are created with a specific format in mind. Although structures differ from one to another, there are mainly similar requirements all the briefs must meet.

    The templates usually have short sections. Some of these sections include:

    • Title: This section helps to tell the reader the content of a brief in a way that sticks to memory.
    • Executive summary: An executive summary includes a little overview of the problem and the advocated policy action.
    • Context or scope of problem: This section states the problem in clear terms and explains how much of the problem would be explored in the brief.
    • Policy alternatives: In this section, the current policy approach is studied and discussed, while other alternatives are put forward to the reader.
    • Policy recommendations: This section lays out all the detailed steps required to address the policy issue.
    • Appendices: This section contains extra support that could help your argument in the brief so that your readers could check out more information.
    • Consulted or recommended sources: This section contains a list of all the reliable sources you have used throughout your brief.  

    Also, policy briefs employ graphs, charts, and other visual aids to make it easier to contain information within sections.

    How to Identify Threats to Your Brief

    Every well-written policy brief is written to present solutions to problems using proposed policies from informed research. The problem research phase of the brief writing might sound easy, but it isn’t easy to research.

    So how do you go about it?

    Most times, the surface problem is not the main root problem. But, for instance, if you identify a problem like children’s health problems. One good example of children’s health problems could be obesity, a growing problem in American schools. You can narrow it down further to find out what the root cause is. The root cause could be nutritional deficiencies, lack of exercise, and so on.

    In this case, your policy solution could center around incentivizing exercise or gym classes in schools, introducing school lunch programs, introducing seminars that explain the necessity of proper nutrition and eating habits to parents who may not understand, and so on.

    The primary key to identifying a problem is defining the general situation and finding the causal factors of the problem. When this is done, you can create the briefs around how to solve those problems on the different levels of government.

    Essential Writing Considerations

    Following are the important points you should keep in mind:

    Framing the issue

    Understanding the problem is the first part of writing a brief, but now you must frame the issue so that you can deliver it to your reader and understand the problem and the need for a solution.

    There are a few steps you should take to go about:

    Define the problem

    In simple, unambiguous terms, state the problem and why your reader should be interested in it. This serves as a point of reference for your reader throughout the brief. Of course, your reader can always go back to the original problem as they go through more complex and intricate details of the problem and solution in your brief.

    Define the scope of the problem

    Try to describe how comprehensive or how big the problem is.


    How many people does it affect on a daily or yearly basis? Is it a local, statewide or international problem?

    Defining the scope of the problem can, to a large extent, help the reader create a workable image of the magnitude of the decision they are trying to make.

    State the stakeholders

    Who does the decision affect directly or indirectly? Try to make a list of all the various stakeholders the decision could affect. Do not focus only on the direct recipients. Instead, try to include every indirect stakeholder that may be involved in the process.

    Having a clear understanding of everyone involved in the problem will help the reader accurately measure the size or magnitude of the problem.


    All decisions must be created with a specific target audience in mind. Therefore, it is essential that you know your audience and communicate directly with them.

    Some good practices to keep in mind when speaking to your audience include:

    • Realize that your audience is usually comprised of policymakers who are very busy and have no time for indirect jargon and regular influencer who may not understand such jargon.
    • Try to make it clear on time why they should bother reading the brief. Why should the problem matter to them?
    • Do not focus solely on scientific or analytic research to explain why they should advocate for such policy changes. Instead, please focus on the cost implication and the impact it has on the stakeholders.

    When you tailor your brief to the audience you want to read it, you can’t go far wrong.


    The structure should be as follows:

    • The policy briefs should be broken into small sections with headings and subheadings, making them easy to glance through.
    • There should be an overview at the beginning of the briefing that outlines all the critical points of the briefing
    • Make it more appealing by using visual images, figures, and charts that are clear and easy to understand.


    The content is the central part of your entire brief. Therefore, make sure your brief is as clear and concise as possible. Also, you want to make your problem the central theme of the work so that your reader can always relate every complex graph, figure, image, or piece of scientific research to that problem.

    You also want to make sure you have handy facts, figures, and charts that policymakers can use to judge the severity of any problem or the probability that a solution would work on it. Finally, work on the emotions of your readers. Paint pictures that are easy to digest and understand emotionally while using facts and figures to back them up. If there is any uncertainty, make sure you make it known.

    Also, include your sources of information so that readers can easily find the research guiding your policy advocacy and give them more opportunity to explore the evidence further.

    Ensure you get rid of emotive words and let the facts do the talking. Don’t try to draw your readers in with unnecessary persuasive and emotional words. Don’t assume your reader knows what you are talking about. Try to write in clear terms and remove all forms of acronyms and jargon. Also, ensure you show where there is consensus and an ongoing debate about the topic.

    At the end of every brief, ensure to put down your contact details so that you can be contacted if need be.

    How to Write a Brief in a Template

    Following are the two stages:

    Stage 1

    Stage 1 has the following steps:

    Create a working thesis statement

    Your thesis statement encapsulates your paper’s main point, main idea, or central message. Therefore, no matter how short your brief is, it must have a working statement to guide every line, paragraph, and section of the brief.


    An advocacy brief thesis statement will contain a way to tackle the issue raised in the brief. In contrast, an objective brief thesis statement will present the problem and the reason for using different approaches to tackle the problem.

    Write a working draft based on thesis statement

    Based on the thesis statement you have created, write out a working draft to guide you through writing. Don’t focus too much on the brief structure; try to make a rough draft.

    Use a reverse outline to focus your draft

    Use your draft to find out the main point of every paragraph. When this is done, you can create an outline so that your draft is focused and your paragraphs flow logically from one point to another.

    A reverse outline will help you with smooth transitions where necessary so that your brief is cohesive and not just many sections lumped together.

    Write a summary statement to start off

    Create a summary statement and place it on the cover of your brief or the first page of your brief if you don’t have a cover. A summary statement will summarize your thesis statement and show your reader the stance or position you are taking in your brief.

    Your summary statement should be a paragraph of about two sentences stating precisely what you are proposing in the brief.


    Suppose you are writing a brief about mercy killing (voluntary euthanasia) and why it should be legalized. In that case, your summary statement might look like this: “The severely sick wish to die in a way that preserves their autonomy. Voluntary euthanasia allows them to do this.”

    Explain the vitality of the issue

    Your brief introduction should clarify why your readers should spend their time reading the rest of the brief. This introduction is critical, especially if you are writing advocacy briefs to antagonistic audiences.


    In a brief about why mercy killing should be legal, you can say “Most people struggle with illnesses that put them and their loved ones under serious strain. These people around us, humans like us, should be given the right to decide if they wish to cease living or not.”

    Close with summary

    After reading the brief, you should have a summary at the end of your brief and a simple call to action that tells your readers what you want them to do.

    In the legalization of voluntary euthanasia, you can encourage lawmakers to raise and vote on a bill that supports the legalization or tell the reader to vote for lawmakers that support the legalization of voluntary euthanasia.

    Stage 2

    Stage 2 has the following steps:


    You need to find all the information you need to make the brief. This includes objective academic studies or government data and statistics. These kinds of sources are good for increasing the credibility of your brief.

    Focus on results and conclusions

    The details of the research and the methodology used should stay with you rather than the methods undergone. Don’t transfer the methods of analysis used into your brief. Instead, try to focus on the results of the brief and how it affects your paper.

    Don’t tell your readers how the research was done. Instead, tell them what the results of the research state and how it affects them personally.

    Relate your findings globally

    By relating it to the world at large, you increase the relevance of your work. Discuss the impact of the policy change you are trying to effect on the world globally.


    Involuntary euthanasia, you can use numbers, graphs and polls to show how people are dissatisfied with the current law and how people would like to get the opportunity to choose how they die.

    Proofread carefully

    Go through your brief carefully to ensure that it is free from all kinds of errors: grammatical, semantic, and incongruent statements. This is important as it makes your brief more reliable.


    A policy brief should be written with a clear structure, concise statements, and the audience in mind. Every good brief should be written to speak directly to the audience in a language they can easily understand and should also have a call to action that pushes people to act or think in a particular direction to influence policy.
    Remember that policymakers are busy people, so try to create a summary and an introduction to explain why your brief is worth reading. Finally, always edit and proofread your work so that it looks more reliable.

    About This Article

    Brian Beers
    Authored by:
    Business Writing | BA in Journalism, Master of Business Administration (MBA)
    Brian Beers is an expert in business writing with over 15 years of experience in financial news. He has received numerous awards, including an Emmy nomination for his work as the lead producer of the CNBC feature "Boom, Bust and Blame: The Inside Story of America's Economic Crisis." Brian has also rung the opening/closing bell of the stock market three times, twice for the NYSE and once for the NASDAQ. He holds a BA in Journalism and an MBA. His exceptional storytelling skills and insightful analysis make him a sought-after professional in the business writing industry, helping individuals and organizations effectively communicate their ideas and strategies in the business world.

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