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- a description or definition of the program or policy, including a brief discussion of the scope of the problem (e.g., statistics) that the policy or program is trying to address;
- a discussion of the history of the program or policy, including why, where, and when it was created;
- a discussion of the purpose(s) or goal(s) of the program or policy (i.e., what it is designed to accomplish, who or what it is targeting); and
- a discussion of the elements of the program, including activities or actions designed to accomplish the program’s goals.
In addition, you should summarize empirical studies that have evaluated how effective the program or policy has been in achieving its goals. For each study, you may, but are not required to, include the following information:
- a summary of the research question examined,
- a summary of the population examined,
- a summary of how the data were obtained (i.e., the type of information collected),
- a summary of the findings as they relate to the thesis statement (e.g., evidence the author[s] found that supports it), and a brief discussion of any significant limitations to the findings.
All information contained in the paper must come from academic sources unless your instructor tells you otherwise. In addition, you should not rely on your own knowledge about the topic. Moreover, you must use a minimum of 10 academic sources when writing your paper. Your paper must be written in APA format and must include citations written in APA format. Failure to include citations constitutes plagiarism. Your paper must include a title page as well as a reference page. Points will be deducted from papers that do not meet the page requirement or that do not incorporate eight academic sources.
Structural Elements of the Capstone Research Report
Policy reports directly reflect the different roles that the policy analyst commonly plays, i.e. from researcher to advocate. The type of report that you are writing is one from the more action-oriented, advocacy end of the continuum (but that is nevertheless based purely on evidence and not your opinion). Although there is much variation even at this end of the scale, the most common elements of the policy brief are as follows:
- Title of the Policy Report
- Executive Summary
- Context and Importance of the Problem (also called the ‘Introduction’)
- Pre-existing Policies, Policy Options, and Research
- Policy Recommendations
- Reference Page