Inside the War Room: Strategies for Effective Policy Briefs from American Think Tanks
This thesis will attempt to demonstrate what constitutes an effective policy brief. First, I will look at historical attempts to measure influence, using those as a guide to define an ‘effective’ policy brief. Next, this thesis will apply that definition to several briefs, separating the successful from the unsuccessful. From there, a rhetorical analysis of the briefs was performed, looking specifically for common strategies and forms that appear to have a direct effect on any given brief’s level of effectiveness. Think tanks hope that their policy briefs would sway policy makers toward a decision that best served the purposes of the authoring institution. Whether or not these institutions are, or even ever were successful at this goal is debatable at best. As a result, this thesis will attempt to qualify the relationship between think tanks and policy makers, especially through the use of policy briefs.