The CQ Press Writing Guide for Public Policy

Andrew S. (Stephen) Pennock,

The CQ Press Writing Guide for Public Policy

Winner of the 2019 Textbook Excellence Award ("Texty") from the Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA)

"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).

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