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The CQ Press Writing Guide for Public Policy

The CQ Press Writing Guide for Public Policy

Second Edition

February 2023 | 288 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

"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

The updated edition is a good fit for graduate students in public policy. The format is easy to follow and students to implement.

Rebecca Stout
Social Science, Walden University
March 7, 2024

The text will form the base text for students policy assignment - writing a policy document for a governing official

Professor David Dolowitz
Department of Politics, Liverpool University
October 3, 2023

Andrew Stephen Pennock

Andy Pennock is an assistant professor at the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia.  He teaches writing in his courses on leadership, policy analysis, political institutions, and Virginia politics and policy. Prior to joining the Batten School, he taught at Brown University where he was the Director of Graduate Studies and the Director of the Applied Social, Economic, & Regulatory Analysis (ASERA) Group which partnered with government institutions, non-profit organizations, and other entities to provide technical expertise, policy analysis, and program evaluation.  A seasoned... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781071858288