Templates and guidance
This section contains a set of bespoke templates and guidance for contacting policymakers and mobilising your research.
Of all the publications a research project produces, the policy brief is the one most likely to be read first in policymaking circles. If you succeed in capturing interest with this document, your findings have a good chance of entering the policy debate. The quality of research is important, but so is the way results are presented. The policy brief presents the project’s most policy-relevant findings in the most accessible way possible, making clear their significance. You must also try to include some recommendations for policy and practice, which is what policymakers are most interested in.
CLOSER has produced a comprehensive template to help you create a policy brief.
Parliamentary Committees often invite evidence exclusively through an online form, but sometimes request submissions as standalone documents. Evidence submissions can be much longer than a policy brief as the Committee will be looking into a topic more closely than an individual policymaker is likely to. However, the document you send should always be as simple and concise as possible, with no logos or unnecessary graphics. Details on submitting evidence to a committee, including on length and format, are available on the Parliament website.
Sending a direct email can be an effective way of increasing the visibility of your research. You can send the letter to an individual (e.g., an MP) or to a group of policymakers (e.g., a Parliamentary Committee) in one go. In both cases it is important to research which stakeholders have an interest in your policy area to give you the best chance of mobilising your research.
Constructing an email to a policymaker should follow a few basic rules:
- Firstly, be sure to address Parliamentarians in the correct way. For MPs, this is usually “Mr” or “Ms” followed by their surname. For Peers it can be more complicated, but the Parliament website has a complete guide on addressing members of the Lords to help.
- It must be concise. You can include the top-line key points from your policy brief but include more information in attachments (such as the policy brief itself) or links. Anything longer than around 300 words will be less likely to be read by either the policymaker or their staff.
- It should start by giving the reason for choosing to contact the recipient. This can be because they sit on a Committee or All-Party Parliamentary Group with relevance to your research, or because they have expressed interest in the topic in the past (which you can find out through a Hansard search). People will always be more likely to read your email if they see a thoughtful reason for your contact and that they are not the target of spam.
- It is a good idea to close the email by inviting the recipient to get in touch if they would like more information on anything you have sent them. This can lead to more in-depth discussions with engaged policymakers.