Faculty of Arts


Policy Analysis and Evaluation


What makes some government actions more effective than others? Who sets the policy agenda and who bears the costs of implementation? How neutral are analysts and the tools they use? These core questions set the foundation for POLICY 701. The course provides participants with a solid practical and theoretical basis for public policy analysis. It examines criteria for effective policy as well as competing models of the policy process. Topics include: problem definition, policy briefs, ethics and public policy, reflexive policy-making, cost-benefit and impact analysis. 

It serves as both a BA Honours level course in Politics and International Relations and as a core course for the Master of Public Policy degree. As such, it will be useful for those considering a career in government or academic research as well as those interested in developing applied research skills for journalism or business.

Each two hour meeting will consist of a short lecture followed by group discussion of weekly readings and assignments. Active participation and careful attention to assigned course readings is required. Students in POLICY 701 will design and conduct their own research projects based on their substantive area interests using a range methods introduced in weeks 5-10. Assignments in the course are designed to provide cumulative feedback on the project from choice of issues and questions, through to methods and final analysis. In class discussions and oral presentations course participants will also develop the communication and group facilitation skills required to work effectively with colleagues.

Purpose and objectives

By the end of this course, you will be able to

  • Identify a range of public policy issues and the tools available to governments to address them
  • Compare the strengths and limitations of different methods of policy analysis identified in the academic literature on the subject
  • Understand the different roles that groups, interests, institutions and norms play in shaping the different stages of a policy cycle
  • Design and conduct your own policy research project using the methods and perspectives used in the class
  • Present your research in a succinct and engaging way to an informed audience in a workshop setting
  • Prepare and present discussant feedback (constructive criticism) to colleagues and facilitate group discussion on policy topics
  • Write and present a policy brief
  • Produce a high quality policy research paper with clear and compelling framing, questions, methods and recommendations

Availability 2019

Semester 1


Lecturer(s)  Tim Fadgen


POLICY 701: 15.0 points



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