OnlinePolicyRubric.pdf

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MPA 5850 Policy Analysis: Guidelines for Policy Brief

You should write your policy brief in four parts (clearly labeled as Part 1, Part 2, etc.) and pay

attention to the contents of each area. The four parts are worth 10 points each (total 40 points).

You should write the brief in a systematic, step-by-step matter, and pay attention to what should

be included in each section. Do not assume a solution until you evaluate each alternative.

Your total brief should not exceed 10 pages double-spaced with one-inch margins, not

including your executive summary, references, or appendices, such as additional graphics.

You should label each part, so that I know when you are transitioning to the next part of the

brief.

Selecting a topic: If you are struggling to find a topic, then I suggest (but you are not required)

that you select a topic from one of the “fact” sheets from the Hamilton Project at the Brookings

Institution. For example, here is a link to one sample, but there are many fact sheets on various

topics http://www.hamiltonproject.org/papers/thirteen_facts_about_wage_growth You should use

these fact sheets to craft a problem statement for your particular topic being sure not to phrase

your problem statement in terms of a proposed solution. Even if you select a topic outside of the

Hamilton Project, it is still a good idea to browse this website to see how issues are framed.

Your brief is due the Wednesday after the conclusion of the course at 11:55PM. A full grade

penalty will be assessed for late briefs received by Thursday at 11:55PM. No briefs will be

accepted after that date.

Part 1

Part 1 should include the following elements:

 Problem statement

 Current policy context

 Stakeholders

Problem statement. Your brief should contain a clear statement of the public problem you plan to

address. Be careful not to phrase your problem statement in terms of a proposed solution.

Current policy context. Defining the current policy context includes the policy agenda and

current policy. Describe recent events that place the problem on the policy agenda. State the

current policy in terms of existing laws, institutions, and budgets relevant to the problem.

Stakeholder analysis. Describe the primary stakeholders whose perspectives should be considered

in analysis of the problem. Explain how they are affected by the problem. Compare and contrast

how different stakeholders have defined the problem, including their perspectives on the cause of

the problem. Specify stakeholder groups with enough detail to be useful. For example, “small-

business owners” or “the governor who is up for re-election,” not “everyone” or “politicians.”

Sources

Cite at least five sources to support your analysis. Three of these sources must be from books,

peer-reviewed articles, or reputable think-tanks. Wikipedia is never an acceptable source. Make

sure to use APA citation style.

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Limitations. As you only have 10 pages for the brief, this section should be roughly 2-3 double-

spaced pages. Do not include information beyond the scope of Part 1, such as alternatives,

criteria, or recommendations.

Part 1 Rubric.

Max

Points Evaluation Category Comments Score

3 Problem Definition: What is the problem or the

underlying issue?

3

Problem Causes: How did this problem arise or how

was it brought to the political agenda? What is the

history of this problem and the policy responses

1

Stakeholders: Who are the primary stakeholders

whose perspectives should be considered in analysis?

And briefly what are their perspectives?

1

Writing: Is your memo written logically,

grammatically correct, and in a way that

communicates your ideas to someone who may be

unfamiliar with them?

1 References: Use of at least five sources, properly

cited using APA method of citation.

1

Followed directions: You have limited your focus to

problem definition, causes and stakeholder interests.

You did NOT discuss the criteria for evaluation,

alternatives, or make a recommendation at this point.

Your memo adheres to the page limit, font size, and

margin requirements.

10 TOTAL

3

Part 2

Part 2 focuses on the scope and severity of the problem. This should be roughly 2-3 double

spaced pages (keep in mind the total brief can be no more than 10 pages) and not include any

discussion of alternatives, criteria, or solutions.

Scope and severity of the problem. Defining the scope of the problem includes political or

geographic scope and quantitative scope. Specify the jurisdiction in which you are examining the

problem: e.g., Ohio, New York City, India, or North America. Include quantitative evidence

about the magnitude of the problem, distribution of effects, and recent trends. Tables and graphs

can be included at the back of the brief and do not count in the page count. Refer to them in the

text and cite sources.

Rationale for or against government intervention. In this section, explain the relative

effectiveness of markets and government to address the problem. This usually involves placing

the problem in a market failure framework. In some cases, the rationale may be ethical or political

rather than economic.

Part 2 Rubric.

Max

Points Evaluation Category Comments Score

4

Scope and Severity: What are the basic facts (scope,

severity) surrounding the issue/problem? What is the

extent of the problem / changes over time? Why is it

important? How did this problem arise or how was it

brought to the political agenda?

3

Is this a public problem? Discuss whether a rationale

exists for government intervention in the area. Such

rationales might be ethical, economic, or even

political. If you believe government should not

intervene, fully explain why this is your view.

1

Writing: Is your memo written logically,

grammatically correct, and in a way that

communicates your ideas to someone who may be

unfamiliar with them?

1 References: Use of at least five additional sources,

properly cited using APA method of citation.

1

Followed directions: You have limited your focus to

problem definition. You did NOT discuss the criteria

for evaluation, alternatives, or make a

recommendation at this point. Your memo adheres to

the page limit, font size, and margin requirements.

10 TOTAL

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Part 3

Part 3 focuses on describing five plausible alternatives (the status quo is one possible alternative)

that might address the problem. Additionally, four criteria should be identified that you will use

to evaluate each alternative. Metrics should be identified as well. Each alternative should be

evaluated against the criteria.

Max

Points Evaluation Category Comments Score

3

Alternative Solutions: Describe five plausible

alternative course of action that addresses your

problem. Provide sufficient detail. Include a

discussion of how each alternative ameliorates the

root causes of the problem.

3

Criteria and Metric: Describe 4 criteria you will use to

evaluate the alternative. Identify the metric(s) you

will use when you do the evaluation of the

alternatives.

4

Evaluation of Alternatives: Consider how each

alternative meets the criteria. Specify your

assumptions and be clear in drawing conclusions

10 TOTAL

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Part 4

Part 4 will include your recommendation on the best alternative or combination of alternatives to

address the problem. The discussion should include identifying implementation and political

feasibility barriers. Additionally, you will prepare an executive summary to include at the

beginning of your brief. You should also ensure your brief is tied together across the four parts.

Remember that your total brief should be no more than 10 double-spaced pages.

Part 4 Rubric

Max

Points Evaluation Category Comments Score

4

Recommendation: Make a recommendation that is consistent

with the analysis. Discuss the tradeoffs implied by this

recommendation.

2 Implementation feasibility: Describe how the recommendation

could be implemented, identifying any barriers.

2 Political feasibility: Discuss the level of support the

recommendation would find from political decision makers.

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Unify the brief: Tie the brief together into a coherent whole,

including an introduction and conclusion. Add in an executive

summary.

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Paper quality: Write and organize logically and use correct

grammar. Communicate ideas to someone who may be

unfamiliar with them. No more than 10 double-spaced pages.

10