Seminar in Public Policy Problems
Final Policy Analysis
Description and Purpose
The purpose of this assignment is to use what you have learned through your writing exercises to formulate a completed policy analysis. So far, you have defined the problem, gathered evidence about that problem, and formulated a few alternatives to address the problem. Now it is time to choose criteria by which to select a policy alternative, make a recommendation, and then put all of your work together as a final product.
The purpose of your policy analysis is to make a recommendation to policymakers about the selection of a policy alternative to address some type of policy problem. First, create an introductory paragraph to introduce your policy problem. This part of your policy analysis document should be only one or two paragraphs long and you should be able to use the first and second paragraphs from your Problem Definition Exercise as your material for this portion of the paper. Make sure that you have described the international, national, or state-level scope of the problem, as well as any local angles that may interest state or local-level policymakers. There should be a heading for this portion of the policy analysis called Introduction.
Next you will be asked to convey information about what scholars have written about the policy problem that you are addressing. For this part of the assignment you should use your Evidence Gathering Exercise to shed light on the scope of the problem and the “features” of the policy context. You should take the six paragraphs that you have created and edited from the Evidence Gathering Exercise, organize them, and give each one a specific bold-faced heading (you can choose yourself whether or not to include best practices under a heading using that description).
Following this section of your paper, you should now lay out the various alternatives that are available to you for addressing the policy problem. Use the material that you produced through the Policy Alternatives Exercise to lay out the various costs and benefits of the alternatives that can be chosen. Before doing so, describe to the reader that you will be laying out a variety of different policy alternatives for addressing the issue and that you will be choosing one of those alternatives on the basis of some standard like efficiency, effectiveness, political feasibility, etc. (see the standards laid out in either the Bardach text or the Salamon reading). Here you will want to weave in some discussion of whether that standard aligns with the various costs and benefits or conflicts with them. As you are laying out these alternatives, make sure that they are listed in bold-face.
You will want to use the last section of your policy analysis to make a policy recommendation on the basis of the evaluative criterion that was chosen. In this section, you will first want to describe one of the criteria by which you will be selecting an alternative. This section should culminate in a persuasive analysis that describes which of the various alternatives best meets this standard. For instance, if you are choosing a policy on the basis of efficiency, then it should be clearly portrayed in your policy alternative section that the benefits of one policy alternative clearly outweigh the benefits of another from an efficiency standpoint. If you are using political feasibility as your standard, then you should describe how the prospects of policy change occurring are better for one of the policy alternatives versus the other two. These are just two examples of standards that you can use and more are available in the Salamon and Bardach readings.
Lastly, you should develop an Executive Summary that you can place in the front part of your paper before the introduction of your policy analysis. This summary should describe the policy problem that you are examining, briefly lay out the three policy alternatives that are available for addressing the problem, and then a description of the standard by which you chose to make a recommendation along with your recommendation to the policymaker. Try writing and tailoring your Executive Summary to a stakeholder who might offer you the best chances at policy change (e.g., if your recommendation involves a change in legislation, then your analysis and summary may be written in a way that appeals to a legislative audience; if judicial change is required then a legal audience; administrative change, then a technical audience, etc.)
Formatting and Additional Requirements
- Your Final Policy Analysis should follow closely the structure that is described above.
- This analysis should be free of grammatical errors and should be effectively written.
- Your submitted manuscript should be consistent with the university’s standards for academic honesty.
- Your exercise should have 1 inch margins on all sides, 12 point Times New Roman or Cambria font, left-justified, page numbers, APA citation style, and double-spaced.
- Your exercise is due April 25 by 11:55pm and should be uploaded as a Microsoft Word document via Sakai Assignments (5% off if turned in later; 10% off for each additional day).