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ENVR 326: Parks

Help with Research

So you’ve got to write a policy memo…

  • What kinds of information do you need to include?
  • Who are your stakeholders?
    • Who will your memo be addressed to, and who will it be talking about?
  • What disciplinary perspectives do you need to bring to bear?
    • What is the historical context for your topic?
    • What is the current political context?
    • What are the economic considerations?
    • What type of scientific work is happening around your topic?
  • Where can you find that information?
  • Process: mapping your information needs, brainstorming search terms, and conducting your research.


From your assignment:

Your topic must be a policy issue – whether domestic or international – that clearly reflects power dynamics and their consequences related to protected areas, communities, and rights over natural resources....broadly, the relationships between people and conservation initiatives.  

A policy memo is organized differently than a regular research paper.  This does not mean that you will not have to conduct outside research; rather, it means that the goal of writing a policy memo is much more focused on practical applications and issues of dealing with governing and political decision-making.  The framework for a policy memo should be focused on the idea that there is a particular issue which needs to be dealt with, providing the information necessary to do that, and then making recommendations as to the best available option or options.  This also means that a memo is directed to someone – an individual, an organization or government, a government agency – and it should be framed as such.  


This guide will help you get started with your research! Need additional help? You've got options: 

Ask Eli: E-mail for reference assistance from your subject liaison librarian. Puget Sound librarians work closely with faculty and can provide personalized assistance on your research. Depending on your question, we might resolve it by email, or suggest setting up an in-person appointment, so that we can work in-depth together. Check out Eli's contact information --->

Ask a Librarian 24/7 service: Anytime, anywhere! This instant messaging reference service lets you chat with a librarian no matter what time it is. Puget Sound librarians can email you to follow up if you leave your email address. Best for questions that can't wait but come up when the library is closed; citation questions; tracking down books and articles.