4. Write a policy brief
Almost every dissemination plan I see mentions a policy brief – a short, non-technical version of the paper intended for policymakers and their teams. There are many different models, as I’ve outlined before. I find many to be too long or too text-heavy: I believe that someone who is willing to scan 6 pages of text may be almost as likely to scan your paper. But that’s just my personal preference; I haven’t seen a lot of evidence on this.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with the form. Colleagues and I started a series called the Radically Brief Policy Briefs, which were just one three-quarter size sheet, front and back, with a couple of analytical images, as you can see below.
Here’s another example: A few years ago, co-authors and colleagues and I prepared a policy brief on cash transfers in Tanzania where every point was supported by a figure, which we called Research in Charts. I handed some out at a workshop in Rwanda, and the next day, on a flight from Rwanda to Tanzania, I noticed government officials reading it. Success! (Well, minor, intermediate success! Still!)