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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.  


Getting Help!

There are several ways to get help with your research