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Tips for Composing a Summative Report

Tips for Composing a Summative Report

A briefing paper, which is typically written for a government official or other policymaker, provides an overview of a subject as well as relevant context.These people have to make tough choices regarding a wide range of issues every day, but they don't have the time to learn everything there is to know about each one. A briefing paper is a document that focuses on one topic and provides the reader with all the background information they need to understand that topic. 

The report goes on to suggest fixes and enhancements. Students, workers, politicians, and activists can all benefit from learning the art of the briefing paper. Briefing papers that are effective at persuasion are succinct, well-organized documents that focus on the most crucial issues and offer the most viable solutions.

Setting Up Your Paper

Figure out what you want your paper to cover. The scope of the paper encompasses its depth as well as its breadth. Approximately how specific will you be? To what extent will you be able to explore various issues? The length of your paper will differ depending on how much research you do and how much evidence you choose to present.

Setting the boundaries of the briefing paper's coverage is crucial for informing the reader of what will and will not be discussed.

Recognize who you're talking to. You should think about your audience before you start writing your briefing paper. Because of this, all of your decision-making throughout the rest of the paper will revolve around it. Consider the following questions before you begin, and if you don't already know the answers, seek them out:

Who exactly is this paper intended for? Who are the people in charge? Corporate leaders? Journalists? Some combination of the foregoing?
How well-versed in this topic is the target demographic? Could they possibly know anything? Who are we talking to, and what do they need to know?

How much sway does this group have over the subject matter? Can he or she make any alterations?
Identify and outline the critical points. If you want to impress your audience with your briefing paper, plan out your arguments beforehand.

It is necessary to condense the information in a briefing paper because of its limited length (usually only a page or two). Legislators have a lot on their minds, and your concern isn't the only one on the agenda. There is no room for irrelevant details or drawn-out justifications. You should prioritize your points before writing a briefing document.

You might want to use a sample. Even though a briefing paper's format isn't particularly intricate, you can save time by using one of the many available free templates for making briefing papers in Microsoft Word that you can get online.

Using a template to guide you can make the process of writing a briefing paper much more manageable.
Construct a sender's name, date, and subject lines. The first step in formatting your paper, if you aren't using a template, is to add your name, the date, and the topic.

An individual whose name appears here has been specifically requested to get this briefing.
This date represents the due date of the paper.

Briefing papers typically cover broad topics, such as "The Prevalence of Bullying in the North County School District," but the subject line should go right to the point. Simply reading this will alert the reader to the problem that needs fixing.

Think of including a conclusion. It is common practice for briefing papers to begin with a summary that summarizes the entire document in a few bullet points. Make room for this section if you've decided you want to undertake it.

The summary provides the most important information up front so that a busy reader may quickly skim the rest of the paper.

In most cases, this section is redundant in a well-written briefing paper. Nonetheless, for urgent matters, this can be a technique to draw attention to the report by emphasizing its urgency by including a specific deadline inside the summary.
Your summary shouldn't have more than three or four bullet points.

Problem Statement

Provide an introduction that briefly explains the problem. The next section of your paper needs to provide a detailed explanation of the problem or issue. In the first paragraph, entitled "issue" or "purpose," briefly explain the core topic of the paper and/or the reason for submitting it.
You could, for instance, compose: "North County School District schools have seen an increase in bullying-related violence." "It's possible that the current system of disciplinary action is insufficient to deal with this matter."

Provide a brief summary of the pertinent history or information. The following section, which may be titled "considerations" or "background," should offer some context for the problem or topic at hand, with special attention paid to any new information or developments.

The reader should be able to make an informed choice after reading this section. As interesting as it may be, if it isn't relevant to the task at hand, don't include it.

Be sure to read up on the topic before writing this section. The data included in this area should be as precise and up-to-date as possible.

Clear and easy writing in this part is possible by translating the text as needed for your target audience. Leave out the unnecessary details, jargon, and technical language.

Make use of facts and figures where they are relevant, but frame your discussion in ways your listeners can easily grasp.

Don't insert your thoughts here. Do not include your personal opinion or suggestions for fixing the problem here. Just stick to the facts.

Alternatively, you may talk about the benefits and drawbacks of several courses of action that have been recommended or are currently being taken.

Putting Forward Findings and Suggestions

Bring things up to date. Concluding portions of your briefing paper could be titled "conclusion," "recommendations," or "next steps." In your conclusion, you need to tell the reader why this topic is so crucial.

To increase your paper's persuasiveness, focus on how the problem affects the reader personally.
As an illustration, you may say: "Because of bullying, many parents are considering sending their children to a private school." These contribute to low standardized test scores and graduation rates, which hurt the reputation of our schools. They make it harder for our school district to qualify for external grants.

Put forth an answer. The problem stated in many briefing documents is often followed by a suggested policy shift that might ameliorate the situation.

Some briefing papers will devote an entire section to "recommendations," outlining the proposed solution(s); however, some authors prefer "next steps," believing it has a more gentle tone and is less arrogant or confrontational. You should keep in mind that the reader, not you, will make the final call on this matter.

It is not necessary to strike a "balanced" tone here, as was done in the background/considerations section. Here, you have the opportunity to voice your opinion on the matter.

It's important to remember, though, that you're not obligated to support any one answer in particular. There is also the option of simply laying out a few solutions, outlining their benefits and drawbacks, and urging the reader to give serious thought to these possibilities and take some sort of action to address the problem. In other words, you don't mandate any certain course of action.

Make use of evidence to support your claims. In this final section, you will present your recommendations and explain why the solution you have proposed is the best option given the information you have supplied so far.

Make sure the proposed remedy is specific and addresses the problem you have described. Consider bringing up the dearth of anti-bullying initiatives in a prior section. In this case, it makes sense to advocate for such a program and highlight its success in other educational settings. It's possible that this kind of answer will seem like it came out of nowhere if prevention initiatives haven't already emerged.

Paper Editing

Reduce the size. Briefing papers should be no more than two pages. If, upon completion, the paper still exceeds this length, the initial round of revisions should focus on finding suitable areas to do so.
Seek out data that is irrelevant or unimportant and cut it out, especially if it has nothing to do with the solutions you propose.

Similarly, make sure you haven't left out any information that's vital to your argument's clarity and persuasiveness. One piece of data may need to be replaced with another.

When editing, put yourself in the mindset of a politician or bureaucrat. Consider the staggering amount of data that these people are exposed to on a daily basis. Avoid adding to the trouble. Contribute to the solution by giving exactly the details needed to reach a conclusion.

We recommend removing any technical terms. Keep an eye out for jargon or technical terms that could make your paper difficult to understand while you revise. You may have written the paper with the intention of avoiding controversial language, yet it nonetheless may contain such words.

It's easy to forget, at least momentarily, that language that is everyday for you may be difficult to grasp for others, and this is especially true if you are an expert on a topic you are writing about.
Bear in mind that the significance of anything is not always clear to those who are unfamiliar with the subject. Most policymakers lack the specialized knowledge necessary to make informed decisions on every issue.

Validate the logic of the structure. Verify that the essential information you presented makes sense in light of the problem as you have outlined it. If you provide a solution, check that it takes those into account, too.

Please take the time to thoroughly check your work for errors. When you've addressed the paper's length and organization, you should read it through carefully again to make sure it's error-free.

A reader may not take your paper as seriously if there are mistakes in spelling, style, or grammar. If you submit such a document, you risk having your viewpoint discredited, which would be counterproductive.

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