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Policy Analysis in Theory & Practice - POL00053H

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  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Eva Heims
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2018-19

Module aims

How do issues get framed as policy problems and end up on the political agenda? Which factors shape policy formulation? Can policy-makers and policy analysts design successful policies? To answer these questions this module provides a comprehensive introduction to policy analysis by exposing you to theoretical and applied policy analysis models. The module explores how policy agendas are set and how policies are shaped through policy formulation and decision-making processes. Week by week, the module uses such insights from the theoretical policy analysis literature to derive tools for applied policy analysis: You learn how to frame issues as policy problems, how to systematically evaluate alternative policies to tackle a policy problem, and how to persuasively communicate a policy recommendation. You will conduct policy analyses by working on real-world policy cases in teams during the seminars. In the final summative assessment you will apply theories and tools of policy analysis to a real-world policy issue of your choosing in order to provide a piece of policy advice to decision-makers.

Module learning outcomes

By completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Identify the types of actors and influences that shape public policies;
  • Frame issues as policy problems and argue for the adoption of a particular policy on the basis of analytical evaluation of different policy options;
  • Critically evaluate theories of the policy process and tools of applied policy analysis.

This module will also equip you with a range of transferable skills:

  • Communication skills ? Present a clear and concise policy recommendation to a professional audience (policy-makers) in writing (in policy memos) and orally (in policy presentations);
  • Inter-personal skills - Work effectively in group exercises to practice policy analysis;
  • Research skills - Independently find and use relevant empirical data and literature for particular policy cases.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 3000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 3000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written timely feedback on their formative assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor?s feedback and guidance hours.

Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessment no later than 20 working days after submission; and the module tutor will hold a specific session to discuss feedback, which students can also opt to attend. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor?s regular feedback and guidance hours.

Indicative reading

Bardach, E. and Patashnik, E. M. 2015. A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis: The Eightfold Path to More Effective Problem Solving. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Kingdon, J. 2010 (updated 2nd edition). Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies. Boston, London: Longman.

Knill, C. and Tosun, J. 2012. Public Policy: A New Introduction. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Parsons, D.W. 1995. Public Policy: an introduction to the theory and practice of policy analysis. Chelthenham: Edward Elgar.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students