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What difference does a policy brief make?
A multi-armed randomised control design was used to find answers to three research questions: do policy briefs influence readers? does the presence of an op-ed type commentary within the brief lead to more or less influence? does it matter if the commentary is assigned to a well known name in the field?
Findings include that a policy brief is more effective in creating ‘evidence-accurate’ beliefs amongst those with no prior opinion, that messengers matter when it comes to readers’ intended actions and that gender and self-perceived levels of influence affect people’s intention to act after reading the policy brief.
Recommends that policy briefs have clear key messages including opinion and authority features as they may help to ensure briefs are shared and passed on, consider whether a policy brief’s design or format is less appealing to women and/or makes them less inclined to take action and that the ‘movers and shakers’are targeted.