POLSC501-21A (HAM)

Policy Analysis: Theory and Practice

30 Points

Edit Header Content
Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences
Political Science and Public Policy

Staff

Edit Staff Content

Convenor(s)

Lecturer(s)

Administrator(s)

: frances.douch@waikato.ac.nz

Placement/WIL Coordinator(s)

Tutor(s)

Student Representative(s)

Lab Technician(s)

Librarian(s)

: melanie.chivers@waikato.ac.nz

You can contact staff by:

  • Calling +64 7 838 4466 select option 1, then enter the extension.
  • Extensions starting with 4, 5, 9 or 3 can also be direct dialled:
    • For extensions starting with 4: dial +64 7 838 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 5: dial +64 7 858 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 9: dial +64 7 837 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 3: dial +64 7 2620 + the last 3 digits of the extension e.g. 3123 = +64 7 262 0123.
Edit Staff Content

Paper Description

Edit Paper Description Content
If policymaking is essentially a political activity, which it is, what is the role of the policy analyst? Where does public participation fit in to the policy-making process? How can we find inclusive solutions to complex problems? This course examines these types of questions, and in doing so it draws on a range of theoretical approaches to the study of public policy. We aim to provide you with an understanding of the key ideas and perspectives that inform public policy analysis, and develop skills for higher-level research in public policy. A key focus is on developing a critical awareness of what drives policy innovation and change. Becoming familiar with this literature will help us to answer questions such as: What leads to innovation in policy-making? How can we promote policy change? What is effective policy analysis? Students who have majored in other subjects, such as economics, science, sociology, geography, environmental planning, education, health studies, international relations, and political science will have the opportunity acquire knowledge and skills to understand and analyse important policy related questions.
Edit Paper Description Content

Paper Structure

Edit Paper Structure Content

The paper is delivered over A semester through a series of lectures, student-led seminars, and related assessment activities. We have a four hour block of time together each week of the Semester. The format for these classes will typically consist of a lecture on a topic, student presentations, and class discussions of examples.

I also encourage you to bring your own interesting course related material to class, be that video clips, news links, reading material and web sources. Through these activities we seek to develop a deep understanding of relevant concepts and theories, and of the implications for the real world of policy analysis and the promotion of policy change.

There are assigned readings for each week and, as this is a graduate level course, you are expected to have worked through these prior to class and arrive ready and willing to engage in intensive discussion. In order to assist you in this process, I will specify which of the readings are essential and provide you with a reading matrix that will help you to be more efficient, effective and critical in your reading.

Edit Paper Structure Content

Learning Outcomes

Edit Learning Outcomes Content

Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • Understand arguments about what constitutes ‘good’ policy, and ‘good’ policy process,
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Discuss different theories of the policy process,
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Understand what defines good policy analysis and evaluate how this is best produced,
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Understand debates about the significance of evidence in policymaking,
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Understand debates about the role of democratic participation in policymaking,
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Apply key public policy concepts to the analysis of a specific policy issue,
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Express ideas clearly and credibly both in written work and orally.
    Linked to the following assessments:
Edit Learning Outcomes Content
Edit Learning Outcomes Content

Assessment

Edit Assessments Content

Attendance and Participation

Attendance and participation is required for this course and will make up 15 per cent of the final grade. Attendance is worth 5 percent of the grade, and the completion of weekly reading commentaries prior to class, 10 per cent. You will be provided with a reading matrix to assist in writing the commentaries, and you should bring your commentaries to class so that we can use them as a part of the discussion.

Seminar/Leading Workshop
You will be required to give presentations and lead class discussions during the course. The schedule for this will be arranged in the second week. This activity will involve:
• Providing a one page summary and commentary of the assigned topic (to be handed in on the day of your presentation),
• Clarifying the key issues or ideas raised,
• Preparing examples to illustrate key points,
• Commenting on continuities and differences across the readings,
• Offering a critical analysis,
• Developing four questions to guide discussion, and
• Leading the discussion in a way that provides opportunities for others to participate.
You may use the whiteboard, handouts, powerpoint, video clips or other media in carrying out this task.

Short Essay on Theories of the Policy Process
Write a 1,200 word essay that identifies and compares two policy process theories used in two academic articles (a list of articles will be made available on Moodle). In your essay you should outline how each theory explains policy change (what do they draw our attention to) and comment on whether you find them to be persuasive.

Short Essay on Evidence-Based Policy-making
Write a 1,200 word essay in response to the question: how do theories of public policy help us come to a deeper understanding of debates around ‘evidence-based policy-making’? Your essay should draw on theories of the policy process covered in the first part of the course. A list of possible sources will be made available on Moodle.

Final Paper: Politics, Policy-making and Policy Change Essay
Write a 4,000 word essay in which you identify a public policy, describe how that policy has changed over a particular time period, and then offer an explanation of that change (the final paper will be worth 30 per cent of the final grade).
While this looks like a simple exercise, it requires you to think about just what is policy, make an informed assessment of the nature of change in that policy area, and then draw on one or more of the policy theories or concepts we have covered to explain that change. Your essay should also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the policy theories or concepts you use.

Proposal: The first step in this process will be writing a short proposal identifying your topic and providing a timeline of key moments in the history of that policy area, as well as an initial list of references. This will be worth 5 per cent of the final grade.

Peer Review: You will be required to review the draft of a fellow student and provide a short constructive critique. You must, therefore, have a draft of your own final paper ready to he handed in by Tuesday the 25th of May. These will be distributed and you will have five days to complete the peer review. You will need to provide two copies of your peer review—one for the course convenor, the other for the author. Your comments will address matters of clarity, depth, coherency and theoretical insight. A guide will be provided. This will be worth 5 per cent of the final grade.

Edit Additional Assessment Information Content

Assessment Components

Edit Assessments Content

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Attendance and Participation
15
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Seminar/Leading Class Discussions
15
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
3. Short Essay on Policy Process
15
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Short Essay on Public Policy and Evidence-Based Policymaking
15
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
5. Politics, Policymaking and Policy Change Essay
40
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
Edit Assessments Content

Required and Recommended Readings

Edit Required Readings Content

Required Readings

Edit Required Readings Content
In this course you will use journal articles and other materials available electronically from the University Library. There will be direct links to all of the required material in Moodle.
Edit Required Readings Content

Online Support

Edit Online Support Content
The paper is supported through Moodle.
Edit Online Support Content

Workload

Edit Workload Content
In addition to attending classes, you are expected to complete the reading programme and the course assessment tasks. The expected workload for this paper is an average of 20 hours per week.
Edit Workload Content

Linkages to Other Papers

Edit Linkages Content

Prerequisite(s)

Corequisite(s)

Equivalent(s)

Restriction(s)

Restricted Papers: POLS501

Edit Linkages Content