The Essence of the Policy Paper
How to Structure a Policy Paper
There is no rule of thumb for writing solid policy papers. Still, we believe that the scheme here below could be used as a steady guideline.
Title: this has to be followed by “For”, which introduces the paper’s recipient. Ex: Report on the legality of targeted killings and recommendations for future American course of action For Chief Counterterrorism Adviser John Brennan
Definitions: 2-3 key definitions
Abstract/Executive summary: 250 words maximum, this has to summarize everything one has done, including the suggested policy plans.
Statement of the issue: generally, this is just a question dealing with what/how the main actor should tackle the issue. Ex: How should the U.S. tackle the issue of the legality of targeted killings?
Background: brief literature review featuring theories, models, and, basically, those defining traits already studied by others.
Main actor’s interest in the issue: after identifying the issue in question (point #4), the objective to is elucidate what/how the main actor should pursue given the matter. Ex: The goal of the United States is to maximize and capitalize off those missions including targeted killings without jeopardizing the democratic fabric of its legal system.
Pre-existing policies: most of the times various actors (politicians, army, law enforcement figures) have already engaged in precise policy plans, which had both positive and negative results.
Policy options: one has to formulate as many policy options as one is able to (generally 3-4) specifically aimed at the paper’s recipient. Such options must illustrate the action plan and analyze its advantages and disadvantages. Each policy option should be presented as such: Policy Option #3: “Get the job done” or Policy Option #4: “The tiptoes approach.”
Appendixes: they are not required, but if one has further pieces of information that cannot be inserted in the main text a list of appendixes is warranted.
Bibliography: unlike classic academic bibliographies, the latter includes those sources that are cited in the main text, but arranges them according to the structure of the chapters. Further, under each source, it is necessary to write 2-4 sentences summarizing its main points.
Golan, Galia. In Stahl, Adam. 2006. “Questioning the Efficacy of Israeli Targeted Killings Against Hamas’ Religio-Military Command as a Counter-terrorism Tool.” Monitor. Journal of International Studies. Volume 12, Number 1. http://web.wm.edu/so/monitor/issues/12-1/6- stahl.pdf
Professor Golan argues that targeted killings carried out by Israel are ineffective and counterproductive. Such policies, in fact, are ineffective as a new leader is always ready to take the place of the former. Golan also believes that such killings are counterproductive since they only produce greater hatred. That is, the elimination of spiritual leaders only intensifies hatred towards Israelis, producing retaliatory attacks and hindering the peace process.
Organization’s Interest in the Issue
Obama, Barak. 2009. “Obama’s Speech on National Security.” The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/21/us/politics/ 21obama.text.html?pagewanted=all
©Michele Groppi, all rights reserved.
Ideas for Possible Scenarios
Scenario #1: Comparative analysis across nations of post-terrorist political discourses. (Read More)
Scenario #2: Comparative analysis of media coverage of terrorist acts across different countries. (Read More)
Scenario #3: Comparative analysis of the known main drivers behind acts of terrorism across different countries. (Read More)
Scenario #4: Formulation of an index on violent radicalization. (Read More)
Scenario #5: Formulation of a holistic counter-narrative against Jihadi terrorism and radicalization. (Read More)
#ThinkOutsideTheBox is a policy-oriented series aimed at providing emerging researchers with the opportunity to introduce new ideas, perspectives and recommendations to practitioners and policymakers on how to resolve crucial security challenges.
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