Auburn University Water Supply Scarcity and Sanitation Policy Brief

Auburn University Water Supply Scarcity and Sanitation Policy Brief

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Question Description


Individual Policy Brief: Students are asked to write a policy brief related to a public policy issue of their choosing. It is strongly recommended that you choose a policy issue that interests you. It is best to choose an issue that is impacting your local community and focus your brief as local as possible. Do not select a large scale issue with a national focus such as gun control or immigration. What are the needs in your community? What is the government done to address these needs? How did the government decide to take the action it has taken? Has it worked? What else could be done? How are other similar communities addressing this issue?

You can look at larger scale issues from the perspective of your local area. For example, How has immigration impacted to local community? What is the local government doing to address these issues? Is it effective? What should be done to address the needs of both immigrants and the larger community impacted by the influx of immigrants. How can the community be more welcoming to these newcomers?

A policy brief presents a concise, neutral summary of all that is known about a particular issue. It is NOT an academic paper. The audience for policy briefs are the general public, elected officials who will decide the issue, non-expert government workers who will implement the policy, and other stakeholder that may be impacted by the policy change. Policy briefs provide information that can help the audience understand, and likely make decisions about government policies. Policy briefs include objective summaries of relevant research (findings), and suggest possible policy options

Policy briefs synthesize large amounts of data and are usually created for a more general reader or policy maker who has a stake in the issue that you’re discussing. This means their political perspectives will impact how they perceive the issue. The writer of the brief must be aware of his or her own political bias, and work to minimize these influences. In writing your brief, use clear and concise language, and avoid using technical jargon. If you find yourself using jargon, try to replace it with more direct language that a non-specialist reader would be more likely to understand. When specialized terminology is necessary, explain it quickly and clearly to ensure that your reader doesn’t get confused.

Your final policy brief should be 1800 – 3000 words (roughly 6 to 8 pages) in length, double spaced. It should be well sourced, using professional or academic journals for research as well as other sources to frame the problem in your community.

Wikipedia and similar sources that rely on user generated information are not acceptable primary source material.

Students should follow American Psychological Association (APA) style (sixth edition) for all citations, available here: (Links to an external site.)

The format of your brief is left to your discretion. There are numerous models available that can prescribe how to format the brief. Generally, typical policy briefs include the following elements:

  1. Cover Material
    1. Cover page with relevant information
    2. Executive Summary (optional)
  2. Problem History
    1. Background of the problem (history)
    2. Current status of the problem
    3. Importance of the problem
  3. Problem Definition
    1. Clear statement of the problem
    2. Statement of methodology used to analyze the problem
    3. Relevant actors involved or impacted by the problem
    4. Impact of the problem
  4. Alternative Solutions/ Policies
    1. List and discussion of alternative policies
    2. Comparison of alternatives
    3. Constraints of different policies (including political)
  5. Recommendations
    1. Description of policy recommendations
    2. Rationale for recommendations
    3. Plan for implementation
    4. Mechanism for monitoring and evaluating implementation for intended outcomes.
  6. End Material
    1. References
    2. Appendices (if needed)