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Mon 22 Jan, Mon 29 Jan, Mon 5 Feb 2024
14:00 - 16:00

Venue: Lecture Theatre A (Arts School)

Provided by: Social Sciences Research Methods Programme


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Public Policy Analysis

Mon 22 Jan, Mon 29 Jan, Mon 5 Feb 2024


The analysis of policy depends on many disciplines and techniques and so is difficult for many researchers to access. This module provides a mixed perspective on policy analysis, taking both an academic and a practitioner perspective. This is because the same tools and techniques can be used in academic research on policy options and change as those used in practice in a policy environment. This course is provided as three 2 hour sessions delivered as a mix of lectures and seminars. No direct analysis work will be done in the sessions themselves, but some sample data and questions will be provided for students who wish to take the material into practice.

Target audience
  • Postgraduate students and staff
  • Further details regarding eligibility criteria are available here

Number of sessions: 3

# Date Time Venue Trainer
1 Mon 22 Jan   14:00 - 16:00 14:00 - 16:00 Lecture Theatre A (Arts School) map Dennis Grube
2 Mon 29 Jan   14:00 - 16:00 14:00 - 16:00 Lecture Theatre A (Arts School) map Alessio Terzi
3 Mon 5 Feb   14:00 - 16:00 14:00 - 16:00 Lecture Theatre A (Arts School) map Dr Pieter van Houten
Topics covered

Session 1
How do we analyse policy development and change over time? The policy cycle and models of policy change In studying how policies are developed and chosen there are two different timescales to consider- the immediate process of policy development (the policy cycle) and the evolution of a policy over long periods of time (models of policy change). This session will outline both timescales and discuss how these models can be applied to study policy change, highlighting the contested nature of most models of policy.

Session 2
What tools do we use to analyse policy options (I)? – assessing the (likely) effects of policies. A key challenge in policy analysis and practice is how to assess and predict the effect of particular policy decisions. Examples of widely used tools for this are regression analysis (as much of the information that policymakers need is provided through the outputs of regression analysis of varying complexity) and randomised controlled trials. This session will focus on some of tools, discussing their main features and using examples of their use in policy analysis and policy making.

Session 3
What tools do we use to analyse policy options (II)? – CBA and MCDA in policy analysis. Policy analysis is a distinct practice that is forward looking, taking an issue and trying to both develop options and to provide a decision framework for making a policy choice. This first of two sessions provides a brief overview of cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA), gives examples of their use in policy decision making, and discusses the role of political considerations in the use of these tools.


The SSRMP does not assess students at the end of this module, although individual degree programmes may set their own assessment using the content in it.

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For this reason, it is vital that all SSRMP students enrol onto and explore their course Moodle pages once booking their SSRMP modules via the UTBS, and that they do so before their module begins. Moodle pages for modules should go live around a week before the module commences, but some may be made visible to students, earlier.

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Elements of Social Science Research

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