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The CQ Press Writing Guide for Public Policy
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The CQ Press Writing Guide for Public Policy



September 2018 | 280 pages | CQ Press

“At the heart of policy analysis is giving advice about public issues, and the key to persuasive advice is clear and credible communication. In the CQ Press Writing Guide for Public Policy, Andrew Pennock draws on his years of experience as a professor, committee staffer, and policy consultant to impart useful, practical lessons on how to write more effective issue briefs, legislative testimony, memos, policy histories and op/ eds. Pennock provides potent insights into how to create first drafts, how to sharpen prose, how to communicate about complicated tables and figures, and how to write for nontraditional formats such as email and social media. This terrific book presents dozens of concrete tips and step-by-step instructions that should be required reading for all student in public affairs undergraduate and graduate-level programs.”
—Eric M. Patashnik, Brown University 

The CQ Press Writing Guide for Public Policy is loaded with rich real world examples that help students master the process of translating insightful policy analysis into clear policy recommendations. Known for his conversational writing style, author Andrew Pennock offers step-by-step instructions on how to write for a variety of genres in a style that policy makers expect. Focusing on an audience-centered approach, students first learn how to create and organize an argument based on the unique needs and expectations of policy makers. The book then moves onto the nuts and bolts of how to write for a policy audience, with special consideration of ethics and working with visual and technical material. Finally, the book provides practical guidance on writing in specific policy genres: policy memos, briefs, Op-Eds, press releases, written testimony, social media, and emails. 

Key Features: 

  • Basic policy writing tasks help students write sentences, paragraphs and sections that make sense to readers (and to professors!). Students also learn how to create professional quality tables and figures that support their argument as well as how to package these components together effectively to communicate with policy makers.
  • Six separate chapters for various public policy genres (issue briefs, legislative histories, decision memos, testimony, op-eds, and new media) provide students with an overview of the genre, several examples, and an analysis of each example.
  • Current examples from across the field of public policy keep students engaged by connecting the concepts to current topics such as public health (the opioid epidemic, Native-American healthcare, lead poisoning), education (early childhood, school governance), criminal justice (sexting laws, ban-the-box), business regulation (AirBnB, renewable energy, drug pricing), security policy (cyber-security, foreign asset control), and social policy (physician assisted suicide).

Bundle with a SAGE | CQ Press text for only $5 more!
Your students only pay $5 A Guide to Writing for Public Policy when you bundle it with the print version of the following textbooks:

 
Section 1: Introduction
 
Chapter 1: AUDIENCES AND AUDIENCE-CENTERED WRITING IN PUBLIC POLICY
What is Audience-Centered Writing?  
Who is the Audience in Policy Settings?  
The Different Audiences in Policy Settings  
What Do These Policy Audiences Need to Know?  
Learning the Skills of Audience-Centered Writing  
Checklist  
Exercises  
Bibliography  
 
Section 2: The Skills of Policy-Writing
 
Chapter 2: GENERATING AND ORGANIZING YOUR ARGUMENT
Example: The Problem of Sharing Economy Businesses  
Writing is Thinking Then Communicating  
The Process of Creating a First Draft  
Gather Evidence for Your Argument  
Documents  
People  
Conclusion  
Checklist  
Exercises  
Bibliography  
 
Chapter 3: IMPROVING YOUR WRITING SENTENCES AND WORDS
How to Identify and Create Good Sentences  
Principle 1: Characters Make Good Subjects  
Principle 2: Actions Make Good Verbs  
Principle 3: Choose Words Wisely  
Conclusion  
Checklist  
Exercises  
Bibliography  
 
Chapter 4: WRITING WELL: PARAGRAPHS AND SECTIONS
Cohesion: Do My Sentences Connect Together?  
Coherence: Does my Paragraph Make Sense as a Whole?  
Editing at a Global Level: Making the Document Make Sense as a Whole  
Conclusion  
Checklist  
Exercises  
Bibliography  
 
Chapter 5: VISUALLY COMMUNICATING: ON CREATING AND WRITING ABOUT TABLES
Principles for Designing Visuals  
Tables  
Writing About a Table  
Conclusion  
Checklist  
Exercises  
Bibliography  
 
Chapter 6: VISUALLY COMMUNICATING: ON CREATING AND WRITING ABOUT GRAPHS AND OTHER FIGURES
Elements of a Successful Figure  
Graphs  
Figures  
Conclusion  
Exercises  
Bibliography  
 
Chapter 7: PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER: CREATING PROFESSIONAL QUALITY WORK
Polishing Your Document  
Writing Ethically: The Responsibilities of Policy Writing  
Conclusion  
Checklist  
Exercises  
Bibliography  
 
Section 3: Policy Genres and Their Purposes
 
Chapter 8: THE ISSUE BRIEF
Distinctive Aspects of Issue Briefs  
Example Issue Briefs  
Conclusion  
Checklist  
Exercises  
Bibliography  
 
Chapter 9: POLICY HISTORY
Distinctive Aspects of Policy Histories  
How to Organize a Policy History  
Example Policy Histories  
Conclusion  
Exercises  
Bibliography  
 
Chapter 10: THE DECISION MEMO
Distinctive Aspects of Decision Memos  
Example Decision Memos  
Conclusion  
Checklist  
Exercises  
Bibliography  
 
Chapter 11: OP-EDS
Distinctive Aspects of Op-Eds  
Example Op-Eds  
Writing (and Publishing) Your Own Op-Ed  
Conclusion  
Checklist  
Exercises  
Bibliography  
 
Chapter 12: LEGISLATIVE TESTIMONY AND PUBLIC COMMENT: WRITING TO PERSUADE THE GOVERNMENT
Distinctive Aspects of Testimony and Comment  
Legislative Testimony  
Public Comment for Regulations  
Conclusion  
Checklist  
Exercises  
Bibliography  
 
Chapter 13: WRITING FOR NON-TRADITIONAL FORMATS: EMAIL AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Email  
Twitter  
Conclusion  
Checklist  
Exercises  
Bibliography  

“At the heart of policy analysis is giving advice about public issues, and the key to persuasive advice is clear and credible communication. In the CQ Press Writing Guide for Public Policy, Andrew Pennock draws on his years of experience as a professor, committee staffer, and policy consultant to impart useful, practical lessons on how to write more effective issue briefs, legislative testimony, memos, policy histories and op/ eds. Pennock provides potent insights into how to create first drafts, how to sharpen prose, how to communicate about complicated tables and figures, and how to write for nontraditional formats such as email and social media. This terrific book presents dozens of concrete tips and step-by-step instructions that should be required reading for all student in public affairs undergraduate and graduate-level programs.”

Eric M. Patashnik
Brown University

“Among the many skills of an effective policy analyst, logical thinking expressed in clear writing is the most essential. My guess is that most teachers of policy analysis promote clear writing primarily through editing rather than instruction. This book is an excellent resource for shifting the balance more toward instruction. It combines practical coaching on the mechanics of clear writing with useful guidance on how to do it effectively in the variety of contexts in which analysts offer their advice. Whether in policy analysis, professional development, or workshop courses, public affairs students will benefit from using this book.”

David L. Weimer
University of Wisconsin-Madison

“No one ever learned to write from a how-to book; we learn to write better by writing (and rewriting with editors', colleagues' and friends' critiques). But learning-by-doing goes faster, and works better, with a good guide like Andrew Pennock's. It's full of useful examples and hands-on exercises, not to mention clear 'rules' and guideposts. I'm going to point my students at this, and try to get my colleagues to do the same.” 

Michael O'Hare
University of California

“When teaching a writing-based public policy course, you previously needed one textbook on the mechanics of the public policy process and a second that guided students how to write. Andrew Pennock's book is unique in that it does both well simultaneously. Each chapter is filled with clear and timely examples that give readers real-world applications of the central theoretical points of the chapter. One nice feature of these examples is that they often demonstrate both effective and ineffective forms of communication. The upshot is that the book gives a reader many templates for structuring their own work. I also particularly liked the exercises that were included at the end of each chapter. This book should be adopted in any course in which a substantial amount of the evaluation is based on students writing policy memos.”

Marc Meredith
University of Pennsylvania
Key features

KEY FEATURES: 

  • Basic policy writing tasks help students write sentences, paragraphs and sections that make sense to readers (and to professors!). Students also learn how to create professional quality tables and figures that support their argument as well as how to package these components together effectively to communicate with policy makers.
  • Includes six separate chapters for various public policy genres (issue briefs, legislative histories, decision memos, testimony, op-eds, and new media) provide students with an overview of the genre, several examples, and an analysis of each example
  • Current examples from across the field of public policy keep students engaged by connecting the concepts to current topics such as public health (the opioid epidemic, Native-American healthcare, lead poisoning), education (early childhood, school governance), criminal justice (sexting laws, ban-the-box), business regulation (AirBnB, renewable energy, drug pricing), security policy (cyber-security, foreign asset control), and social policy (physician assisted suicide).

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ISBN: 9781506348780
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