Because data can’t speak for itself, we’re here to help you tell policy stories that matter.

The Harris Writing Workshop was created to help students and policy makers write more effectively. We believe in clear, concise, and compelling policy writing that not only communicates the aims of your research and recommendations, but also, moves the needle toward implementation.

Teach talking to students

How to Write a Policy Memo That Matters

Crafting good policy can be difficult, but learning to write a memo that is clear, concise, and compelling shouldn’t be. Learn how to translate your hard work into a memo that matter in this Writing Workshop module.

Improving Sentence Clarity with Stronger Sentence Cores

All narratives feature characters who act. Policy communicators can fulfill these two fundamental requirements of a narrative by choosing characters as the subjects of their sentences and those characters’ actions as the verbs.

Using Deductive Structure to Create Coherent Paragraphs

Structuring your paragraphs deductively will not only give your readers the content they need most right up front, but it will also help them make sense of the data, evidence, and analysis you must present to support the main point of the paragraph.

Old-to-New Sequencing for Clearer Paragraphs

The most powerful strategy we can use to improve the coherence of your paragraphs is known as the “old-to-new” sequence. Learn how to use old-to-new sequencing to engage your audience and maximize comprehension.

Meeting the Unique Needs of the Reader

One of the primary reasons why many policy analysts struggle to write clearly and concisely is that they don’t have clarity about whom they’re writing for. Before you analyze your data, you’ve got to get a clear understanding of who your reader is, what they want to achieve, and how you can help them achieve it. To figure out what your reader needs, you can ask yourself six questions—the answers to which will help you know what research questions to ask, what kinds of data to collect and analyze, and how to communicate the results of your analysis in an interesting and persuasive way.

Mastering the Three Policy Narratives

Simplicity is key to achieving clarity in your writing and effectively engaging with your audience. However, considering the complexity of most policy problems, providing clear and compelling answers is anything but simple. So, where do you start?

The Four Elements of Persuasive Policy Writing

To make a persuasive case for policy reform, it’s not enough to point out and contextualize the issues, problems, or challenges you’ve uncovered during your research. You must also show your readers what is supposed to be happening, why the issue you uncovered exists in the first place, and what the future might be like if the reader followed your guidance (or, what might happen if they don’t).

USAID: A Four Elements Case Study

Emergency food aid is a critical component of the United States’ foreign aid efforts, and it is essential to ensure that it is reaching the intended beneficiaries effectively and efficiently. By using GAGAS, we will evaluate the program’s compliance with applicable laws and regulations, determine if the program is achieving its objectives, and assess its overall impact.

Writing Resources

While rigorous logical analysis matters a great deal in the world of public policy, it won’t be useful unless you’re able to tell your audience a story that answers your audience’s questions. Access resources to make your policy writing more clear, concise, and compelling.


Beyond a general expertise in writing skills, our Writing Fellows have been trained to coach students to write valuable and persuasive policy memos and can help at any point in the writing process–from initial brainstorming to final draft review. Meet our coaches and book your session.


Register for workshops  to take your writing to the next level. We hold in-person and virtual events on everything from writing memos and briefs to creating a standout LinkedIn page and crafting a resume that will propel you toward your career goals.