Conclusion (1 Paragraph) Remind The Reader Why Action Is Needed And What Are The Consequences Of Inaction? If You Take These Recommendations, These Are The

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Instructions for both Opinion pieces and Policy Briefs

· Use nontechnical language

· Avoid academic jargon like exogenous, independent, and dependent variable, etc.

· Write in conversational style

· Use sub-headings to break-up information

· This makes it easier to read and more engaging for your audience

· Avoid typical APA paper headings like “Background” and “Findings” – instead use descriptive phrases that entice the reader to continue reading and give them a glimpse of the information that is to come

· Spell out acronyms and define terms

· Don’t just say, “SES” or “ABA”– spell it out and define them

· Example: what do you mean when you say SES (socioeconomic status)? How is it operationalized/measured? With household income, individual income, education level, using federal poverty line brackets, being a Pell grant recipient, being eligible for free and reduced-price lunch…etc.?

· When writing an Opinion column or a policy brief you want to minimize distractions and thus we don’t cite like we do in a normal APA paper instead we use endnotes

· (Links to an external site.)

· and direct hyperlinks

· (Links to an external site.)

· to the sources we are citing.

Opinion Column Outline

Choose your topic

· A recent or upcoming event

· A new or provocative take on a commonly discussed topic

· A neglected topic that needs to be talked about

Choose your tone!

· Will it be critical, humorous, breezy?

· This is your chance to write in your own unique voice and have some fun writing something different than research papers.


Outline (~750 – 950 words)

1. Headline/Title

· Attention-grabbing

2. “Lede” The hook: the opening sentence

· A recent headline, a new statistic, a surprising fact, or a personal story or observation

· Describes the event, situation, or issue that you are writing about

3. First Paragraph

· States your argument

· Why the topic/issue matters

4. Supporting Paragraphs (3-6 paragraphs each no more than 4 sentences each with concise declarative sentences.)

· Each paragraph should make its own point

· Use quantitative or qualitative findings from published research or government statistics to make your case (convince your reader that your opinion or argument is valid)

· In addition to scholarly evidence, you can also use personal stories and anecdotes, a story of a person affected by the issue (e.g., infants and youth)

· Include visuals

· Identify and acknowledge the counterargument; then refute it with facts.

· Details about a solution you may be proposing

· Use bullet points and lists if you are offering multiple solution

5. Conclusion

· Remind readers why this issue should matter to them

· Are you calling for a specific action? Are you giving advice or offering a recommendation? What was your argument in support of or against?

· More debates/conversations around the topic?

· Changes to practice or policy?

· Your argument for how people should respond to a certain issue?

What an Op-Ed should do?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kD3eHClpnI0

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Links to Opinion Pieces:

· https://www.ocregister.com/opinion/

· (Links to an external site.)

·

· https://www.nytimes.com/section/opinion

· (Links to an external site.)

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· https://www.wsj.com/news/opinion

· (Links to an external site.)

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· https://www.latimes.com/opinion

· (Links to an external site.)

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Below are links to some online resources related to op-ed and column writing:

The Op-Ed Project (http://www.theopedproject.org

(Links to an external site.)

) is a terrific resource for anyone looking to

strengthen their op-ed writing. It provides tips on op-ed writing, suggestions about basic op-ed

structure, guidelines on how to pitch op-ed pieces to publications, and information about top

outlets that publish op-eds. Started as an effort to increase the number of women op-ed writers,

The Op-Ed Project also regularly runs daylong seminars around the country.

“How to Write an Op-Ed Article”

(https://www.umass.edu/pep/sites/default/files/how_to_write_an_oped-duke_2.pdf

(Links to an external site.)

), which was

prepared by David Jarmul, Duke’s associate vice president for news and

communications, provides great guidelines on how to write a successful op-ed.

“And Now a Word from Op-Ed”

(http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/01/opinion/01SHIP.html?pagewanted=all

(Links to an external site.)

) offers some advice on how to think about and write op-eds from the Op-Ed editor of The New York Times.

“Policy Brief Outline (~750 – 950 words)


Policy Brief Outline (~750 – 950 words)

1. Introduction (Policy Goal)

1. Summary/Overview (1 paragraph)

1. Tell your audience the overall message

1. Why it is an important issue

2. Highlights of findings

3. Indicate whether actions are required and by who

2. Background (1 -2 paragraphs)

1. Information on the geographic location, issue or program presented, the people impacted

2. What previous research has shown or what previous policies/programs have achieved or not

3. Key Messages (1 -2 paragraphs)

1. Research findings

1. Divide your findings into issue areas with subsections

2. Include tables or figures to support the main findings you are highlighting

2. Implications – This is the so what section…why do the findings matter

1. What policy issues arise from the findings?

2. Underlying causes to be addressed?

3. Is there sufficient evidence to support action now?

1. Have solutions been tried and were they effective?

4. Recommendations (1 -2 paragraphs)

· Paragraph 1: Specific interventions or actions needed and by whom

1. Don’t just say we need better meal options for kids in school. What do you recommend based on the findings in the field that would help get healthier meals to kids and who needs to do those things? If you don’t say who then there is no accountability.

2. Do you have a timeline tied to your policy recommendation?

3. How do you suggest these interventions or actions be measured? How will we know if these recommendations worked/were effective?

Paragraph 2: Conclusion (1 paragraph)

1. Remind the reader why action is needed and what are the consequences of inaction?

i. If you take these recommendations, these are the positive things that will happen…

ii. Add a positive note encouraging looking toward the future.

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