• Offered by School of Sociology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Sociology
  • Areas of interest Australian Studies, Policy Studies, Political Sciences, Social Research, Sociology
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Annie Carroll
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

A great deal of research, in many guises, is undertaken to support the formulation, implementation and evaluation of public policy. Moreover, many stakeholders in policy questions also engage in research to support their advocacy. An informed awareness of the practices and pitfalls of researching around the public policy process is crucial. Beginning with a focus on how policy questions are identified, defined and prioritised, we examine the role of research in assisting with the formulation of policy proposals within government. This necessarily involves the role of research in making sense of policy input - especially from stakeholder groups - garnered from inquiries and consultations. We also critically examine this in the context of calls for Evidence-Based Policy Making. Finally, research may be conducted by government or stakeholders seeking to evaluate impacts, efficiency or effectiveness of policy and programs. This course critically examines a range of styles of research and evaluation activity, as students develop research and evaluation skills suitable for the public policy realm.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Understand the contribution of social research to public policy formulation, implementation and evaluation;

2. Recognise the strengths and weaknesses of calls for evidence-based policy making;

3. Demonstrate skills in applying desk-based methods of social research appropriate for policy evaluation;

4. Produce written analytical work on a research topic in an area of public policy; and

5. Present, discuss and critique their ideas, and the ideas of others, in a constructive fashion.

Indicative Assessment

Policy Brief and critical reflection, 2500 words (45%) LO 1,3,4

Program Evaluation, 2500 words (45%) LO 1,2,3,4

Tutorial Participation (10%) LO1,2,5

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A two hour lecture and one hour tutorial per week for 13 weeks. Students are expected to undertake 7 hours independent study each teaching week over the semester (total 130 hours).

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of 1000 level SOCY or POLS courses; or permission of the convenor

Prescribed Texts

AAlthaus, C., Bridgeman, P., & Davis, G. (2013) The Australian Policy Handbook.  (5th edition).  Allen & Unwin

Colebatch, H. K. (2009) Policy.  (3rd edition). McGraw Hill




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3353 20 Jul 2015 07 Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015 30 Oct 2015 In Person N/A

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