Research Briefs: Simple tools to link research to practice

Briefs are important communication tools for linking research findings to policy and practice — and ultimately affecting change. Because face it: in the attention economy no one has time to read the full report. Here’s a template we’ve developed at the Technology & Social Change Group for writing a research brief. You could also adapt it for a project brief.

Before we dig in, here are a few examples:

And some overall tips:

  • The reader should be able to get the gist of your findings and their implications from reading the title and summary. Since every word counts, so you’ll need to do some careful wordsmithing, writing and re-writing these a few times. You may want to do this part last.
  • Language should balance precision and accessibility. Use plain English, avoiding jargon and acronyms. Define obscure terms and explain complex concepts.
  • Your research abstract (in the front matter — topic for another post) is a good place to start because you’ve already had to think through what’s most important.
  • Remember the purpose: To enable independent, rigorous research to guide policy and practice.
  • Briefs are also intended to promote dissemination/downloads of the full research paper and to promote our work.


Two-sided 8.5