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

Second Edition


January 2023 | 240 pages | CQ Press

The CQ Press Writing Guide for Public Policy, Second Edition, 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--including policy memos, briefs, op-eds, press releases, written testimony, social media, and emails--in a style that policy makers expect. 

Focusing on an audience-centered approach, the second edition of this award-winning book helps students learn how to create and organize an argument based on the unique needs and expectations of policy makers. The book also covers the nuts and bolts of how to write for a policy audience in specific genres, with special consideration of ethics and working with visual and technical material. The second edition features updated examples and a new chapter on writing for public speaking.

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


 
Part 1: Introduction
 
Chapter 1: Audiences and Audience-Centered Writing in Public Policy
 
Part 2: The Skills of Policy Writing
 
Chapter 2: Generating and Organizing Your Argument
 
Chapter 3: Improving Your Writing: Sentences and Words
 
Chapter 4: Writing Well: Paragraphs and Sections
 
Chapter 5: Visually Communicating: On Creating and Writing About Tables
 
Chapter 6: Visually Communicating: On Creating and Writing About Graphs and Other Figures
 
Chapter 7: Pulling It All Together: Creating Professional-Quality Work
 
Part 3: Policy Genres and Their Purposes
 
Chapter 8: The Issue Brief
 
Chapter 9: Policy History
 
Chapter 10: The Decision Memo
 
Chapter 11: Op-Eds
 
Chapter 12: Legislative Testimony and Public Comment: Writing to Persuade the Government
 
Chapter 13: Writing for Public Speaking
 
Chapter 14: Writing for Nontraditional Formats: Email and Social Media
 
Index

"Effective writing is widely recognized as a critical skill for public policy practitioners, yet the nuances of how to write for public policy audiences specifically are rarely made explicit to our students. This concise and beautifully written text provides a much-needed resource for students and practitioners of public policy to learn and practice the critical skills of writing for public policy audiences. The second edition includes new content on writing for public speaking. Enlivened with timely examples and hands-on exercises, The CQ Press Writing Guide for Public Policy is a treasure trove of useful and practical wisdom."

Elisabeth Gerber
University of Michigan

“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

"Developing audience-centered writing skills is a core competency in our public health school curriculum. Andrew Pennock’s book helped me as an instructor to refine the writing assignments used in our graduate-level food and nutrition policy course. The checklists he includes for each type of policy output makes it easy to develop clear rubrics for assessment. Beyond the classroom, I direct my mentees and colleagues to the first sections of the book as a practical primer on clear and accessible writing for any audience."

Rebecca Heidkamp
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
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 seven separate chapters for various public policy genres (issue briefs, legislative histories, decision memos, testimony, op-eds, new media, and speeches) that 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 health care, lead poisoning), education (early childhood, school governance), criminal justice (sexting laws, ban-the-box laws), business regulation (Airbnb, renewable energy, drug pricing), security policy (cyber-security, foreign asset control), environmental policy (public funding), and social policy (death penalty, LGBTQ+ rights, physician-assisted suicide).

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Paperback
ISBN: 9781071858288
$30.00