Policy Analysis

Policy Analysis

Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8116-3.ch009


In this chapter, students are presented with the fundamentals of policy analysis. Upon reading this chapter, students will understand the purpose of policy analysis, and how one goes about completing a policy analysis. Terms such as action forcing event, policy question, environmental scan, policy options, and options assessment are discussed in depth. Real world examples are used to further underscore each step in the policy analysis process.
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What A Policy Analysis Entails

In Chapter 8, we discussed the finer points of conducting program evaluations. A program evaluation deals with assessing the success or failure of a program that is designed to meet predetermined objectives. A program evaluation seeks to determine if the program is working. When a program is judged not to be working, and there is enough political momentum for change, then the policy analysts come into play. The purpose of a policy analyst is to assess various policy options that are designed to fix an existing problem. In other words, there is problem where the existing policy is not working, or where there is no policy in place to address this problem. The job of the policy analyst is to identify a number of policy options, to assess those policy options based on a predetermined set of criteria, and to make a recommendation to policymakers.

The basic parts of a policy analysis include:

  • 1.


  • 2.

    Historical background,

  • 3.

    Literature review,

  • 4.

    Stakeholder assessment,

  • 5.

    Description of the policy options,

  • 6.

    Options assessment criteria,

  • 7.

    Options assessment, and

  • 8.


We will discuss the intricacies of each part in the following sections. Although the structure of a policy analysis might differ from one academic to another, the general framework presented in this chapter is based on Bardach (2012).

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