Insight from Abigail Linnington, Ph.D. Professor of Practice, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, Colonel (retired), U.S. Army

Abigail Linnington

Policy writing is critical to many aspects of public policy decision making as it is the primary way junior staff and middle-managers interact with senior leaders and inform their decision making.

The Policy writing style uses simple, precise language and avoids redundancy and unnecessary description. A good memo conveys what is most important about the issue and why it matters by putting the bottom line up front. Good writers organize the breadth of information on an issue in a logical progression that explains the essential elements of the policy problem quickly but thoroughly. Finally, writers should separate facts and objective analysis from subjective assessment and recommendations.


The quickest way for staff to influence policy making is to develop skills in policy analysis and writing. By framing complex policy problems and developing viable policy options, our writers contribute to senior leaders’ ability to think, lead, and persuade others.