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Learning Goal: I’m working on a political science writing question and need guid

by | Apr 29, 2022 | Political Science | 0 comments

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Learning Goal: I’m working on a political science writing question and need guidance to help me learn.You are an advisor to the President on international relations issues. You’ve been asked to prepare a nonpartisan policy memo on a global challenge you think will face the United States in the next 3-5 years and how best to deal with it.Purpose: The purpose of a memo is to persuade your target audience of the urgency of a problem and the need to adopt the recommended course(s) of action.Audience: The audience for these memos are those who are informed, but not necessarily experts (ex. politicians, journalists, etc). You should strive to be professional but avoid academic jargon.Content: Policy memos are evidence-based (the nature or scope of the problem should be based on evidence as well as the recommended course of action). Memos are balanced – while the goal is to persuade your audience, you also need to be realistic about the drawbacks or weaknesses in the suggested solution. As you think about your memo, be sure to:Identify the problem – What’s going on?
Identify the scope of the problem – Why is this problem one that needs to be addressed now? What makes it urgent? How many people are affected? Is the problem (or its consequences) short-term or long-term? (this is a great place for any quantitative evidence you have gathered)
Identify the recommended solution(s) – What specific steps should be taken to address the problem? As you craft your recommendations, recall the class discussions around actors, interests, interactions, and institutions. What other actors need to be taken into consideration? What are the US’s interests? What might be the interests of other actors involved? What should the US consider as it pursues the recommended solutions (i.e. what are the possible outcomes that might result from the various interactions among actors?) To what degree can institutions (formal or informal) help?
Structure: Memos are concise, focused, and visually easy to read. As appropriate, memos should make use of headings and subheadings to demarcate key sections; tables, charts or other graphics to highlight key evidence; bulleted lists. To avoid cluttering the body of the memo, use footnotes or endnotes when citing evidence. Key sections of the memo include:Executive Summary – This section is a short summary of the problem and recommended course of action (recall that readers are often short on time and may only be able to skim this section)
Problem: its nature, scope and context – This section communicates what the problem is, the scope of the problem and why it’s necessary to be addressed now. This section needs to draw from and explicitly reference course readings and other research. Feel free to use tables, charts, or other graphics to display your evidence.
Recommendations – In this section, you will identify the recommended solution(s) to the problem. Recommendations should be realistic. While you want to persuade your reader to follow your recommendations, you should also be clear about any weaknesses (for example, “Recommendation A will be costly, but the anticipated benefits outweigh the costs”).
Source List – In this section you should include all the sources you consulted. (Choose a citation style of your choice, but be consistent)

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