Social Work *: What is a Policy Brief?

Randall Information Center | USC School of Social Work

Policy Briefs and Why They Are Important

What is a policy brief?

A policy brief is a concise summary of information that helps readers understand and make decisions about policies, typically government policies. They usually provide an objective summary of relevant research, suggest possible policy actions, advocate for courses of action. 

Why are they important? 

Policy briefs help policymakers decide what to do and inform them of the problem and its impact. They summarize the best available evidence that supports why the policies need to change to effectively solve an issue. 

 

**Adapted from Policy Briefs - the Writing Center, University of North Carolina.

Formatting a Policy Brief

Use evidence - Support the recommendations you are making with research (data, statistics, scholarly studies, government reports) to advocate for a policy change

Be concise - Use direct language, avoid jargon, and summarize the problem

Organize information - Clearly label sections of your brief, include images, charts, and graphics that will attract readers to the information and provide clarification

Examples of Policy Briefs