ENV311H5S Environmental Issues in the Developing World
Assignment ID Number AFFGEHU83939HD Type of Document Essay Writing Format APA/MLA/Harvard Academic Level Masters/University References/Sources 4 References
For this assignment, you will write a policy brief on a topic that is relevant to environment and
development in the Global South. I recommend that you choose a topic related to your work for
Assignment #1: Country Status Report. Specific criteria for topics are detailed below.
The assignment is due on March 30, 2020 by 11:59 pm (i.e., before midnight on that date). Quercus is
very strict about imposing late penalties please be aware of that and try not to upload files after the
deadline, or you will risk incurring late penalties.
We will be going over the assignment in detail in the Tutorial for Week 3, and in the Whats On video
for Week 7. As well, the Extra Optional Makeup Tutorial (posted with the Week 7 materials on Quercus)
will walk you through some important aspects of policy briefs.
In completing this assignment, you will:
be able to explain the purpose and format of policy briefs in the international development
identify and investigate a problem or issue relevant to environment and development in the
define the problem or issue in a manner that is sufficiently well focused to be addressed
effectively in a policy brief format;
summarize the issue at a level that would be relevant for an experienced international
propose several policy solutions by explaining the situation and the policy landscape, and/or
advocate for one particular solution to the issue that you have identified.
But what you might ask is a policy brief?
The UN FAO defines a policy brief as follows:
A policy brief is a concise summary of a particular issue, the policy options to deal with it, and some
recommendations on the best option. It is aimed at government policymakers and others who are
interested in formulating or influencing policy. Policy briefs can take different formats. It has an
attractive design, and may have one or more photographs.
from Preparing Policy Briefs, Lesson 4.1 in Food Security Communications Toolkit (2011) Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/i2195e/i2195e00.htm
Three characteristics are common to almost all policy briefs:
1. They are brief (typically 1-4 pages; some are as short as 700 words, but we will aim for 1500-
2000 words in this assignment) more than 4 pages would be a report rather than a brief.
2. They provide a concise summary of a particular issue.
3. They speak to policymakers, offering options and/or recommendations for dealing with the
There are two basic types of policy brief:
An advocacy brief argues in favour of a particular course of action.
An objective brief gives balanced information and options for the policymaker.
UNFAO (2011, op cit.) lists some requirements for policy briefs:
Provide enough background for the reader to understand the issue or problem.
Convince the reader that the problem must be addressed urgently.
Provide information about alternatives (in an objective brief); or, provide evidence and
recommendations supporting one alternative (in an advocacy brief).
Stimulate the reader to make a decision.
As well, policy briefs usually are formatted so they will catch the attention of policymakers, who are
busy people with (often) short attention spans. The pages are carefully laid out, with interesting
graphics, perhaps even a photograph, and some way of emphasizing the main points.
In terms of structure, there are many ways to organize a policy brief. Here is a suggestion (you dont
necessarily have to follow this its just a suggested organizational framework for your content):
Executive Summary (similar to an Abstract)
Main Text, Issue Summary, and Evidence
Interpretation or Discussion
Implications and Recommendations
In addition, a policy brief should be eye-catching and easy to read, and so will often include some or
most of the following:
Text boxes and sidebars
Cases or examples
based on IDRC (n.d.), How To Write a Policy Brief, in Toolkit for Researchers, International Development
Research Centre, http://www.idrc.ca/en/resources/researchdbs/tools_and_training/pages/toolkit-for-
researchers.aspx, and on UNFAO (2011, op. cit.)
I have provided a number of resources related to policy briefs on our course website, including the UN
FAO and IDRC sources cited above, which are both very thorough and informative. There are also some
examples of policy briefs that you can look at. They are posted in the Assignment #2 folder. Please check
out these sources they have a lot of examples and advice for producing policy briefs.
QUALITY OF RESPONSE NO RESPONSE POOR / UNSATISFACTORY SATISFACTORY GOOD EXCELLENT Content (worth a maximum of 50% of the total points) Zero points: Student failed to submit the final paper. 20 points out of 50: The essay illustrates poor understanding of the relevant material by failing to address or incorrectly addressing the relevant content; failing to identify or inaccurately explaining/defining key concepts/ideas; ignoring or incorrectly explaining key points/claims and the reasoning behind them; and/or incorrectly or inappropriately using terminology; and elements of the response are lacking. 30 points out of 50: The essay illustrates a rudimentary understanding of the relevant material by mentioning but not full explaining the relevant content; identifying some of the key concepts/ideas though failing to fully or accurately explain many of them; using terminology, though sometimes inaccurately or inappropriately; and/or incorporating some key claims/points but failing to explain the reasoning behind them or doing so inaccurately. Elements of the required response may also be lacking. 40 points out of 50: The essay illustrates solid understanding of the relevant material by correctly addressing most of the relevant content; identifying and explaining most of the key concepts/ideas; using correct terminology; explaining the reasoning behind most of the key points/claims; and/or where necessary or useful, substantiating some points with accurate examples. The answer is complete. 50 points: The essay illustrates exemplary understanding of the relevant material by thoroughly and correctly addressing the relevant content; identifying and explaining all of the key concepts/ideas; using correct terminology explaining the reasoning behind key points/claims and substantiating, as necessary/useful, points with several accurate and illuminating examples. No aspects of the required answer are missing. Use of Sources (worth a maximum of 20% of the total points). Zero points: Student failed to include citations and/or references. Or the student failed to submit a final paper. 5 out 20 points: Sources are seldom cited to support statements and/or format of citations are not recognizable as APA 6th Edition format. There are major errors in the formation of the references and citations. And/or there is a major reliance on highly questionable. The Student fails to provide an adequate synthesis of research collected for the paper. 10 out 20 points: References to scholarly sources are occasionally given; many statements seem unsubstantiated. Frequent errors in APA 6th Edition format, leaving the reader confused about the source of the information. There are significant errors of the formation in the references and citations. And/or there is a significant use of highly questionable sources. 15 out 20 points: Credible Scholarly sources are used effectively support claims and are, for the most part, clear and fairly represented. APA 6th Edition is used with only a few minor errors. There are minor errors in reference and/or citations. And/or there is some use of questionable sources. 20 points: Credible scholarly sources are used to give compelling evidence to support claims and are clearly and fairly represented. APA 6th Edition format is used accurately and consistently. The student uses above the maximum required references in the development of the assignment. Grammar (worth maximum of 20% of total points) Zero points: Student failed to submit the final paper. 5 points out of 20: The paper does not communicate ideas/points clearly due to inappropriate use of terminology and vague language; thoughts and sentences are disjointed or incomprehensible; organization lacking; and/or numerous grammatical, spelling/punctuation errors 10 points out 20: The paper is often unclear and difficult to follow due to some inappropriate terminology and/or vague language; ideas may be fragmented, wandering and/or repetitive; poor organization; and/or some grammatical, spelling, punctuation errors 15 points out of 20: The paper is mostly clear as a result of appropriate use of terminology and minimal vagueness; no tangents and no repetition; fairly good organization; almost perfect grammar, spelling, punctuation, and word usage. 20 points: The paper is clear, concise, and a pleasure to read as a result of appropriate and precise use of terminology; total coherence of thoughts and presentation and logical organization; and the essay is error free. Structure of the Paper (worth 10% of total points) Zero points: Student failed to submit the final paper. 3 points out of 10: Student needs to develop better formatting skills. The paper omits significant structural elements required for and APA 6th edition paper. Formatting of the paper has major flaws. The paper does not conform to APA 6th edition requirements whatsoever. 5 points out of 10: Appearance of final paper demonstrates the student’s limited ability to format the paper. There are significant errors in formatting and/or the total omission of major components of an APA 6th edition paper. They can include the omission of the cover page, abstract, and page numbers. Additionally the page has major formatting issues with spacing or paragraph formation. Font size might not conform to size requirements. The student also significantly writes too large or too short of and paper 7 points out of 10: Research paper presents an above-average use of formatting skills. The paper has slight errors within the paper. This can include small errors or omissions with the cover page, abstract, page number, and headers. There could be also slight formatting issues with the document spacing or the font Additionally the paper might slightly exceed or undershoot the specific number of required written pages for the assignment. 10 points: Student provides a high-caliber, formatted paper. This includes an APA 6th edition cover page, abstract, page number, headers and is double spaced in 12’ Times Roman Font. Additionally, the paper conforms to the specific number of required written pages and neither goes over or under the specified length of the paper.
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