ANALYSIS OF READINGS AND THOUGHTS ONPOLICY MEMOS
LATIN AMERICA IN THECONTEMPORARY WORLD
February 17: Policy Memo #1March 3: Analysis of ReadingsMarch 10: Policy Memo #2
ON THE READINGS
Careful reading of3-6papers or chaptersWithin one topic or across topics (explain choices)Nota summation or “book report”Explore assumptions (sometimes hidden), use of methods, policy implications, overall persuasiveness8-10 double-spaced pages
INITIAL THOUGHTSON POLICY MEMOS
Imagine yourself as consultant to a Latin American government (or corporation or other suitable entity)Identify a policy challenge or “problem”Evaluate policy alternativesPresent a clear recommendationExplain reasons for policy choice, including anticipated consequence (or “outcome”)
THERE’S NOTHING LIKE INFORMATION!
See memoon IR/PS formatsLength: 3 pages (single-spaced)Double space between paragraphsOne-inch marginsSize 12 font (Times New Roman)
FORMAT FOR MEMOS
Header(to, from, date, subject)Executive SummaryYour whole memo in oneparagraph (written last)Issue, analysis, solution (that is, the recommendation)“You can have the most brilliant policy recommendation, but if your executive summary is terrible, it will go unread.”BackgroundRelevant information only, summing nature of problem and public responseAnalysisExamination of possible policy optionsListing with pros and consRecommendationState recommendation in one sentence.Explain reasoning as necessaryPresent action plan if appropriate.
Use headings as appropriateKeep sentences short (<3 lines, preferably <2)Avoid passive voiceRemember audience:You are persuading someone to do something he/she is not now doing.The reader has interests as well as authority.Time for your memo is 1-2 minutes.Do not appeal to altruism alone. Focus (if indirectly) on interests.
Careful about recipient/addresseeStrike a tone of level-headed moderationExecutive Summary (to be writtenlast)Background (onlyrelevantinformation)Analyis: policy options (withprosandcons)Recommendation:Whois supposed to dowhat? Not onlydirectionorcontentof policy, butprocessas well.Write and rewrite… and rewrite again…