Individual Policy Briefing Paper.

In this paper, you will research, analyze and defend your position on a family policy issue. This is an individual project.

Your policy paper should be at least 5 and no longer than 6 typed pages not counting cover page, references and appendices, if there are any. It must be single-spaced, use 12-point font, have 1” margins and must be in correct APA format. Number all pages. Type your name and the name of your assignment on your paper header and submit by e-mail. The paper is submitted as it is developed and feedback to you will be given. It is expected that you will take seriously the comments and correct the draft.

  • Due Date for Executive Summary and Context and Importance of the Problem by e-mail:
  • Requirement: Two sections (outlined in the rubric) Executive Summary Context and Importance of the Problem make up this portion of the assignment. A reference list in APA 6 style should be included to show you have started your research. After turning in these sections, you will meet with your writing partner to discuss your topic, including current contextual issues related to the problem and your policy recommendations. Writing partners should also read the paper for content, clarity and flow. I will read this first draft and comment to ensure that your executive summary and context and importance of the policy problem are aligned. Be sure to include the topic of your paper in this assignment.
  • Full Draft Due Date by e-mail: April 30.

Requirement: I will read each paper and make comments and suggestions for improvement for your final paper. After turning in the rough draft, you may wish to schedule a time to meet or talk with me by telephone with me (about 10 minutes) before the final is due to discuss and clarify comments and/or to ask questions. This draft should be complete and written using correct grammar, sentence structure and APA format.

  • Due Date for Final Briefing Paper: (35%) by e-mail

When formatting your paper remember:

  • It should be at least 5 and no longer than 6 typed pages not including the cover page, references or appendices
  • It must be single-spaced with one-inch margins
  • It must use 12-point font
  • Number all pages except for the cover sheet
  • Your name and the name of the assignment on your paper – Per APA Formatting
  • Use correct APA to format and reference your outside sources
  • Save and submit the document as Last Name, Assignment Name


The title should catch the attention of the reader and compel him/her to read on, and so needs to be descriptive, punchy, relevant and appropriate (not overly emotive or cute). (e.g., Can Public Policy End the Epidemic of Childhood Obesity? or should we quickly remove parental rights when child abuse is proven?) You need to develop a research question.

Executive Summary

A short and concise executive summary aims to convince the reader that the brief is worth in-depth investigation on their part and that they should read the entire brief. Remember, you are writing for an audience that may or may not have expert knowledge on the topic you have chosen. It is especially important for an audience that is short on time to clearly see the relevance and importance of the brief in reading the summary. Save details for following sections. As such, a 1 to 3 paragraph, generally one page, executive summary should include:

  • A statement of the problem
  • A description of the problem addressed (including one or two relevant facts or statistics is very helpful).
  • A statement of why the current approach/policy option needs to be changed, or why a specific approach/policy in use is the most effective option.
  • Recommendations for action: a succinct statement of your policy recommendation.
  • References in APA style need not be cited in this section but are mandatory for all other sections. If you choose to cite references, USA APA style to do so. Do all of these.

Context and Importance of the Problem

The purpose of this section of the policy brief is to convince the target audience that a current and urgent problem exists which requires them to take action. This section should be a major portion of your policy brief. The context and importance of the problem is both the comprehensive introduction and first building block of the brief. As such, it should include the following: What is the problem that policy can address within domestic violence?

  • A clear statement of the problem or issue in focus, possibly including a very small bit of information from the executive summary.
  • An in-depth, overview of the root causes of the problem (including relevant historical information as well as current and relevant trends, legislation, statistics, facts, published research, resources-e.g. websites, books and articles that speak to the problem, etc.) add this research
  • A clear statement of the policy implications of the problem with clearly establishes the current importance and policy relevance of the issue. Get specific with your recommendations.

You will also analyze your social issue from an appropriate theoretical lens (need not be Bogenschneider or Bronfenbrenner and can be any framework you have examined at UD in HDFS or another department) discussed in class or in another class or one that just interests you; discuss the context and scope of the problem through this lens. The applied theoretical framework will allow you to organize the issue and will determine how and what policy or program implementation you propose. It is suggested that you use a theoretical framework outlined in one of the texts from this class or others from previous HDFS classes; however, as long as your theory is properly cited (cite the original author of the theory, not the author of the text in which you read about the theory), it is not necessary. It is important that you actually choose an established theory or theoretical framework; if you have questions about this, please ask. There are several theories that relate to domestic violence specifically =or you can take a more general theory and apply it.

Policy Options

The aim of this element of your policy paper is to describe both the past, and if they are different the current policy, including legislative and/or regulatory approaches or options being implemented, or considered and detail their shortcomings or successes (this can be on a federal, state, county, city or organizational level). You need to go beyond just mentioning the laws and appropriations and look at what is being done.

This section will ultimately discuss where the current policies are and illustrate both the need for possible changes and focus, and where the change at what level of government or the private sector – needs to occur. In doing so the discussion and critique of the policy options will include the following:

  • Any definitions that have been given to key concepts associated with the policy issue
  • The definition of different possible policy alternatives, including policies that have been followed in the past.
  • A detailed description of at least two, but preferably three policy alternatives with sufficient details of both so that the reader understands the major distinguishing characteristics of each policy alternative. One alternative can be to keep existing policy. add
  • A description of the policies that are currently being followed, successes and shortcomings in both the written and implemented aspects of each policy as well as and the debate regarding policy alternatives. Many policies seem excellent in writing but the implementation falls short of the intent of the policy. add
  • An argument illustrating why and how current policies are failing or succeeding. Keep in mind; it is important for the sake of credibility to recognize all opinions in the debate of the issue. develop

Policy Recommendations

The aim of the policy recommendations element of your paper is to provide a succinct yet detailed and convincing proposal of how the failings or successes of the current policy approach need to be changed or maintained. As such, this is achieved by including:

  • A clear statement of your policy choice including on what level the policy will be enacted and implemented (federal, state, county, school district, etc.). The levels for enactment and implementation may be different. A justification of your policy using the policy analysis criteria of effectiveness, efficiency, and equity develop

By the time the reader gets to this section, they should understand the scope of the issue and the current related policies. Your recommendation should not come as a surprise to the reader, but should be a logical and concrete solution. You can also choose to accept, adopt or modify a currently existing policy, or to combine elements from multiple policies.

Policy Implementation

To address the key implementation issues, this section will discuss the pragmatic considerations associated with the decision to implement a new policy or continue to expand or terminate an existing policy by including: Once you have some recommendations you can add this section.

A breakdown of the specific practical steps or measures that need to be implemented, including, but not limited to: clarified definitions, staff needed, time frames, ability to regulate policy, and support services needed. Address if legislation is needed and if so the level of government. Is it implemented by government-at what level, business or nonprofits, when it is implemented, how success will be evaluated, where funding will come from (you do not need to know exact amounts). It must be clear and detailed.

This section sometimes also includes a closing paragraph re-emphasizing the importance of action; generally, it is stronger to end this way.


Although the brief is a short and targeted document, students sometimes decide that their argument needs further support and so include an appendix with tables, charts or other necessary documents. Appendices are not required and should only be included if they show issues or data referenced in your paper that is best seen by the reader directly. Not required, but some of your stats might go there.


References, in APA format, both in the body of your work and the References section are important. When you are citing the ideas/work of others both within the narrative and in a reference list it is crucial that you give credit to your sources. Your reference sources should include:

Different types of sources including, but not limited to, journals, newspapers, books, reports, case studies, and professional internet sites. All policies included in the document should be cited with the exception of a policy you develop for the paper, if you choose to do so. Do not use Wikipedia as a reference.The majority of your references should be from peer reviewed journals, issue papers published by think tanks or advocacy organizations or legislation. At least 5 such references are required. Other references may be included as needed to support your ideas. Your references were not enough to give you the materials you needed

Be sure that you are always citing the primary source. For example, when you cite statistics and research findings you need to cite the original researchers, even if you are reading the information in a newspaper article, a journal or a textbook.