Sample Paper on Determining the Best Approach to Public Policy Analysis

Determining the Best Approach to Public Policy Analysis

Refined Literature Review

Background of study

Policy formulation and implementation is one of the very important aspects of public institutions that is seen have a high weight in terms of making any country move forward. In order to come up with informed policy decision for any public or private institution, it is important to ensure that the structure in which the policy is forged is of high quality and is deemed to help the institution in making sure that the policy has long term positive effects to both the economy and the wellbeing of the individuals involved in these policies. Various scholars have argued on the best way in which the policies could be analyzed and well implemented. (Fox, Bayat, & Ferreira, 2006), have argued that the analysis and the implementation of the policy should not be pegged on the short term but the long term effects that it is going to have on the expanse of the citizens that the policy would affect.  These researcher go ahead to draw a line between a bad policy analysis and the good policy analysis by highlight the pertinent issues that separates the two. One of them is the relevant financial backing and a positive economic effect. Levy, (1995) on the other hand lays more emphasis on the inclusion of the major macro economic variables as they are very central in giving a profound decision on what course of actions to take in regard to the economic living standards of various parties concern. The central position of this study is to provide the best approach that most governments and other public institutions can rely on in making sure that they come up with well informed policy that do not only cater for the short term needs but also deals with long term macro problems.



Inception and significance of policy

Policy analysis emerged to both enhance the understanding the process of policy-making and to provide decision-makers with sufficient knowledge about pressing social and economic problems. Policy analysis is insinuated to be a product of post-WWII military planning conducted by the RAND Corporation and other great ‘think-tanks’ (Robert, 2011). At this point,  the military would use the policy process approach in analyzing the policies that they postulated since they were dealing in medium weight issues affecting the government (Wolde, 2005). Policy analysis has borrowed many concepts from a number of disciplines, such as; political science, economics, sociology, history, public administration and arose as a sub-disciple in early 1960s, mainly in the United States (Walt and Gibson, 1994). Later, Canada and other a number of countries in Europe have adopted the specialization. Moreover, over the past century, almost all governmental agencies and non-profit making organizations all over the world have developed some kind analytic policies to underpin their administration agenda and decisions. An increasing large number of professionals have devoted their lives to producing policy analysis. It has emerged a global phenomenon, even though the escalation of activities related with policy analysis has been most prominent in the United States. Policy analysis has been used mainly in evaluating government activities (Weimer, & Vining, 2016). Policy analysis is a problem-oriented approach that does not assume any model structure in investigating consequences in policy alternatives. It utilizes various tools to establish relevant information and present to stakeholders engaged in the process of policy making in a way that assist them to make appropriate decision (Warren, 2000). The process involves much sophistication and other methodological alternatives that trigger disputes among the decision makers.


A discussion on the approaches to policy analysis

While not much directly to other social movements, policy analysis has been regarded to be highly influential. It has helped to alter the advice-giving structures of governments and, therefore, defied the informal; nonetheless, a long-established advising practices through which power and influence flow. The understanding of this transformation has been attributed to social and political commentators (Wolde, 2005). That is because the pertinent changes have caused few obvious estrangements in the processes and administrative systems typically related with government. There are three sets of approaches that are used to analyze the policy and the various processes of making policy that are always very helpful in drawing the profound map for which these policies could be well analyzed. One of these approaches is the analy-centric approach which instinctively focuses on the particular problems and their proposed resolutions.  In this prospect, the analysis is deemed to be quite narrow and is specifically centered in getting solution for a micro problem as opposed the aggregate problem (Knoepfel, Larrue, & Varone, 2011). the solutions got from this analysis is in technical and economic terms and would want to provide a precise answer to situation at hand for example,  the most effective way to allocate the resources.

The next pertinent approach is the notion of the policy process. This approach gives much attention to the involved stakeholders and the profound political processes of the government. The coverage of the approach is of a Meso-scale with the problem being solved being political in nature. In this prospect, the policy tend to examine the various roles and the influence that the various stakeholders in trying to come up with the policies. At this point, it is important to note that the most stakeholders would want to have the high advent of making sure that the policy so far formed favors the interest in terms of economy, power and control of the government (Weimer, & Vining, 2016).

Additionally, the Meta policy approach gives more attention to the perceiving a policy in a wider scale.  It gives a structural approach to the interpretation of various macro problems. In order to understand the gist of factors surrounding this facet, the major aspects to look into is the explanation on the various contextual factors that might affect this policy. For example the various socio-cultural, economic and political factors that affect the policy process (Knoepfel, Larrue, & Varone, 2011). This approach tries to give answers to the general macro policies like a particular economic system.

The last approach that most governments have used in the analysis of the various policies is through the five E’s approaches. In this prospect, there would be the notion of looking at the various policies in the light of its effectiveness, efficiency, ethical soundness, goodness and the prompts it brings on positive establishments. A policy would therefore be examined on how it is useful in terms of cost effectiveness and the impact it is going to have on the various parties across the board (Knoepfel, Larrue, & Varone, 2011).  Additionally, the goodness here would mean that the policy will be compared with the other sets of policies that would address the same problem and how best it merits with these other alternatives. The transcending effect of this is that the policy makes shall have emerged with the best policy among the other best ones (Wolde, 2005).

In the early studies, the process of policy analysis was taken to be a simple act of advising the bodies concern on the best strategies to use in governance.  In this prospect, it was essentially used as tool or an activity within the government agencies, to inform the primarily elected or the appointed persons on the conduct with which they should serve in their offices. The approach that was used here was the analy-centric approach which gives much attention to the specific simple problems within an organization (Lindblom 1968; Wildavsky, 1979). In the contemporary society, the number of interest groups in the policy analysis process continues to grow.  This notion is accentuated by the fact policy analysts that are in the private sectors are also usually called upon by the government to help in the coming up with a better and well informed policies in the country (Weimer, & Vining, 2016).

Additionally, in the current world, the policy analysis processes has made it such a way that the many policies nowadays focus on getting the solution to the societal-perceived problems as opposed to the ancient times where the policy was designed for a particular interest group. However, Knoepfel (2011) thinks that the decision-makers in public institutions are just fascinated in creating better images of their organizations and policies rather than to solve societies’ problems (Wolde, 2005). The world is rapidly changing; there are many problems encountered while drawing and implementing public policy in this perspective. In policy analysis, policymakers are faced with several policy alternatives, which are often diverse and produces far-reaching multiple consequences, making it difficult to make prediction, let alone anticipation (Warren, 2000). In fact, different groups value and perceive different consequences differently. Data are limited and uncertainties abound. Policymakers do not have the luxury of overlooking certain minor topics since such ignorance may lead to wrong decision-making.

Currently, the problems to address regarding policy analysis have become broad by gaining more contexts that are complex. Therefore, the stakeholders need to acquire a profound knowledge of how to implement this scientific method towards the realization of goals in the public institutions. Besides, history should be considered seriously in policy-making to help citizens and policy-makers to readjust their expectations, illuminate prospects and limits of public policy, and identify ways of legitimacy restoration (Knoepfel, Larrue, & Varone, 2011).

According to the American Institute of public policy (1992), history creates a better understanding of how policy analysis, links to legitimacy; therefore, it could enable the decision-makers to solve the pressing problems in a reflective manner with the public administration. There will be much complexity in the implementation of policies in the public sector if there will be no broader step taken. Therefore, in this research, I will be examining the complexity faced by public institutions during policy implementation processes.


Purpose of Study

The main purpose of this study is to give an incisive look into the various approaches that have been postulated by various public institution and how effective these approaches to the development of various government sector.  As we all know, the inception of the any policy require a well thought out strategy which will ensure its appropriate implementation.  It is quite imperative that the whole context of public policy analysis to be given scrutinized in such a way that we come up with a profound solution to the best approach to use in analyzing the policy.  as it stand,  we would give much attention to the major difficulty that public institution face as they carry out the policy implementation in various policies.  Additionally, we will give a comparison of various approaches of public policy and their various advantages in bringing on board the advent of soundness of the policy.

Refined Potential Research Questions

RQ1: What is the major difficulty public institutions face in policy implementation?

RQ2: What is the best approach towards efficient implementation of the public policy in public institutions?

RQ3: What is the relationship between the use of the five ‘E’ approaches and the performance of the policy implemented?

Refined Data Sources

For this research there two sources of data that would be used in carrying out the research.  First I would use the existing data.  In this prospect, I would dig into the government websites and look at the various policies that have been implemented and check on the variables like the content of change,  the context of change and the process of change that these polices had to undergo before being implemented.

Secondly I would use survey research design in collecting data from the Ventura County where I will collect the data on perceptions of people on the best approach for policy implementations as well as the difficulty faced.  In this prompt, I will collect the data in various cities and towns of this county and analyze them accordingly. The various government officials in these cities that are linked to the policy implementation are the most vital respondents that I will pursue to get the survey data.  I will also call upon the various citizens of this county to contribute by filling in the various questionnaires which would gather on the effectiveness of the five ‘E’ approaches and also the acceptability of the various policies implemented by the local and county government.

Refined Hypothesis

H1: The major difficulty the public institutions face in public policy implementation is the content of change.

H2: The best approach towards efficient implementation of the public policy in public institutions is through the five ‘E’ approaches.

H3: there is a positive relationship between the use of the five ‘E’ approaches and the performance of the policy implemented.

Conceptual and Operational Definitions

RQ1: The major difficulty public institutions face in policy implementation

In this research question dependent variables will be ‘the difficulty in public policy implementation’ while the independent variables will be “the content of change”, “the context of change” and “the process of change”.  A closer look at the independent variables, the content of change gives a description on the real policy issue that needs to be changed.  In other words, what is this change in policy that needs to be implemented and what is the motive behind it. The context of change revolves around the very subject and conditions with which this policy will be implemented. The question one would ask in this variable is; will the changed be made to improve on a policy or to institute a whole now policy altogether? On the account of the process of change, we look into the procedure of implementing the policy, the cost implication and the duration of implementation among other issues.

RQ2: The best approach towards efficient implementation of the public policy

In this research question efficiency (dependent variable) will be measured against four sets of independent variables. These independent variables are analy-centric approach, the policy process approach, Meta-policy approach and the five E approaches. From this research we will be at a position to understand the best approach to use carrying out a profound policy analysis process. The independent variable for the hypothesis is evaluating methods and dimensions used for effective implementation of policy. Ex-post will measure vital approaches and dimensions for effective implementation as proposed by individual nations. Thus, evaluation of policies and actions from various public institutions is crucial. The independent variable for the hypothesis is evaluating how different set of policies is necessary for effective policy implementation. It will be measured using outcome indicators to monitor whether this framework is meeting the long-term goals of policy implementation

RQ3:  The relationship between the use of the five ‘E’ approaches and the performance of the policy implemented.

For this research question, the five ‘E’ approaches will be the dependent variable. the independent variables that will be used in predicting the dependent variables are the performance metrics such as ‘the cost implication’ , ‘the sustainability and feasibility of the policy’ and lastly,  ‘the acceptability and the impact of the policy on the humanity’. With these variables in place, it is very evident that the performance of the five ‘E’ approaches in analyzing policy will be well discerned. A closer look at these independent variables, the sustainability and the feasibility variable will give an incisive look at how this policy will be important now and in the future. The survey on the perceptions on various individuals on the policy is critical.  Additionally, cost implication variable will be very vital in making sure that we understand how much funds has been directed towards the policy and the benefits it brings on board.  In the account of the acceptability variable, the public perceptions through the survey is very important in coming up with a profound view of whether it has been accepted or not. Remember, the policies under scrutiny are those policies that were analyzed through the five ‘E’ approaches before implementation.

Operational Definitions


DV1 = the difficulty in public policy implementation; interval

IV1 = The content of change; nominal

The context of change; nominal

The process of change; nominal


DV2 = Efficiency; interval

IV2 = Analy-centric approach,

The policy process approach; ordinal

Meta-policy approach; ordinal

The five E approaches; ordinal


DV3 = The five ‘E’ approaches; interval

IV3 = The cost implication; Ordinal

The sustainability and feasibility of the policy; ordinal

The acceptability and the impact of the policy on the humanity; ordinal

Potential Data Analysis

In this research for the RQ1 the data would collected arranged in an interval of 1-10 for the independent variables.  Additionally, a descriptive statistics would be carried out in order to give much attention to the highly valued variable.  Additionally, through the analysis of the descriptive statistics we would know the various variations that were seen in data that might make the data collection unauthentic.

On the research question 2, the best data analysis that would be employed here is the ANOVA analysis where I would give much attention to the variations that occurs between the independent variable to give the true value of the dependent variable. Additionally, the descriptive statistics will be very substantial here is testing for the ultimate high value score for the five sets of the independent variables. The ordinal approach will be used in getting the data for this research question and the intervals will be used in gauging the best approach during the data collection.

On the research question 3 (RQ3), regression analysis will be carried out to draw a relationship of how the three performance metrics (independent variables) could be used in predicting the performance of five ‘E’ approaches could be used to analyze a policy. In this context, the independent variable would be the y value while the three performance metrics (cost implication, feasibility and acceptability) will be the x1, x2 and the x3 values. This study research question is dependent upon the nominal data that will be collected in various regions in the Ventura County. A coefficient of determination will also be calculated to discern the degree with which the independent variable is used to predict dependent variable using the regression line formed.

Potential Sampling Design

One of the sampling designs that I will use in this study is the stratified sampling design.  The target populations are the people who are working in the public institutions within Ventura country. On research question 2, I will collect the data on the perception of the individuals working in these public institutions on the best approach they think should be used to analyze policy. In the stratified sampling design I would collect as many respondents and as possible and group them in order to strategically pick their representatives. One research question 3, the target population would 1.5% of Ventura county members who have attained 18 years and above.  This population is seen to have known about of the policies affecting their lives and can gauge whether a policy is failing or not. In this prompt, the random sampling will be used in getting the respondents from every corner of the county where they will be asked to fill the questionnaire forms.

Potential Instruments

For this study questionnaire will be used in making sure that we get the information needed for the research.

RQ1 questionnaire

Tick where applicable    

Where does the government find difficulty when trying to implement a policy?

The formulation of the content of the policy                                                                        

The context and framework in which the policy would be implemented                             

The process it takes to implement the policy                                                                        

RQ2 questionnaire

Tick where applicable

What is the best approach towards efficient implementation of the public policy in public institutions in terms of percentage?

The five ‘E’ approaches                                                                                             

The Analy-centric approach                                                                                       

The process policy                                                                                                      

The Meta-policy approach                                                                                         

RQ3 Questionnaire

Note* (5 means you strongly agree while 1 means you strongly disagree)

With the current government policy on Education in place, do you think this policy is?

Costly                                                             1,         2,         3,         4,         5

Sustainable and economically feasible            1,         2,         3,         4,         5

Do you accept this policy as a citizen             1,         2,         3,         4,         5


From the questionnaire, it is important to note that the current education policy is assumed to have been scrutinized using the five ‘E’ approaches before it was implemented.




Potential Limitations

In the policy analysis, research attempts to identify patterns, probable outcomes, and general principles applicable in different public institutions. Therefore, unpredictability is a major threat towards the validity of this type of research. Likewise, my work involves the use of sources that are not current to this academic year. It could interfere with the application of this information for public institutions when deciding about policy implementation. Besides, the use of stratified random sampling only includes information about the most representative states, globally. Simply, some problems are affecting public institutions in Africa, not faced by the United States and other European countries. The public bodies of the mentioned countries might have a unique way of policy analysis compared to the rest of the population in the world. Nevertheless, there some factors determining why some public institutions experience complexity in policy implementation. Therefore, comparative study in this type of research could always be difficult.

Schedule for the study research

Number Research activity
1 The choosing of the problem or the topic of the study
2 The review of the available literature about the topic of the study
3 Evaluation of the best literature to use for the study
4 Becoming aware of the ethical issues surrounding the study
5 Being aware of the cultural issues surrounding the study
6 Coming up with a profound hypothesis/problem statement of the study
7 The selection of the research approach to be used
8 The determination of the research variables to be measured in the study
9 Selection of the study sample to be used
10 Selection/choosing of the method/s of data collection
11 Collection and coding of the data
12 Analysis and the interpretation of the data so far collected
13 Writing up of a report on the study
  Delivery and dissemination of the report on the study carried out.





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