The Policy Brief: A Tool for Knowledge Transfer

  • The policy brief is a knowledge transfer tool that has increasingly been used in recent years as a way to inform or influence public policy decisions.
  • Because policy briefs are designated by a variety of terms (e.g.: policy note, research snapshot, etc.) and prepared in various formats, it can be difficult to determine how to go about writing one. What exactly is it? What criteria should be met to produce a high quality document? Which writing guides are of interest?
  • This document is intended to assist knowledge producers in writing a policy brief based on research evidence.
  • The first two sections describe the characteristics of a policy brief, its components and the elements that should be considered to maximize its potential. The final section presents a selection of resources to guide readers who wish to pursue further knowledge.
  • The information presented is based on the recommendations included in the guides reviewed (2008-2018), as well as on studies of experimentation with different models of policy briefs and research on factors that support or limit the extent to which policy makers take evidence into account.
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