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Social Policy Analysis - SPY00101M

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Kevin Caraher
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2020-21

Module aims

  • To explore current themes in social policy analysis
  • To explore the concept of policy and policy analysis
  • To consider how policy problems and agendas are framed
  • To consider the actions and processes that shape decision-making
  • To explore how policies are implemented and evaluated, and how they may be transferred between different settings
  • To develop writing and academic integrity skills

Module learning outcomes

  • Understand the policy process and the types of actors and influences that shape it
  • Have an appreciation of some models and frameworks which can assist in the analysis of policy issues and problems
  • Use appropriate models and frameworks to analyse examples of policy processes in their own and other organisational settings, and within these examples be able in particular to
  • Describe key actors, their relationships and sources of influence
  • Analyse the process of decision-making
  • Discuss the role of front-line staff in shaping policy outcomes
  • Identify factors that are relevant to understanding policy success and failure
  • Understand the notion of policy transfer and be able to assess the extent to which transfer has taken place in specific cases discuss the issues involved in researching and studying the policy process
  • Demonstrate development of writing and academic integrity skills


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

The lead marker (the module tutor) will include comments about the content, structure, and evidence used etc. to provide you with constructive information that will enable you to improve on future work. The feedback a tutor can offer can be invaluable to your studies, so it is important you read this carefully

We aim to return your marked work to you within one month of its submission.

Feedback will be given in three ways:

(1) Comments within the actual text will highlight specific points and examples that the marker wants to draw to your attention.

(2) The marking criteria will be highlighted to show how your assignment has been rated against those criteria. This will enable you to calibrate your performance against a consistent scale, and therefore to aim to improve in specific areas.

(3) Finally the marker will provide a narrative summary in which the main points will be set out and any major areas for improvement highlighted.

Indicative reading

Dery, D. (2000)  Agenda setting and problem  definition,  Policy Studies, Vol. 21, No. 1 , pp. 34-47

Dolowitz, D. and Marsh, D. (2000) Learning from abroad:  the role of policy transfer in contemporary policy making, Governance, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 5-24.

Hupe, P.L. and Hill, M.J. (2016), ‘And the rest is implementation’: Comparing approaches to what happens in policy processes beyond Great Expectations, Public Policy and Administration, Vol. 31. No. 2, pp. 103-121.

Lodge, M. and Wegrich, K. (2014)  Raional tools of government in a  world of bounded rationality,  Discussion paper No. 75, London School of Economics/Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation,

Mosse, D. (2004) ‘Is good policy unimplementable? Reflections on the ethnography of aid policy and practice, Development and change, Vol. 35 No 4, pp. 639-671.

Stone, D. (2008) Global public policy, transnational policy communities and their networks,  Policy Studies Journal, Vol. 36, No. 1, pp 19-38.

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.