- Class Number 4578
- Term Code 3030
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- AsPr Bjoern Dressel
- AsPr Bjoern Dressel
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 24/02/2020
- Class End Date 05/06/2020
- Census Date 08/05/2020
- Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
In this course students examine the role of evidence, knowledge production and data analysis in public policy. Particular emphasis is placed on equipping students with skills to interpret data, and appraise different quantitative and qualitative techniques for policy analysis, such as cost benefit analysis, statistical analysis, and interpretive analysis. As a starting point students consider what is knowledge and evidence for public policy, and engage in debates on evidence-based policy making. They then explore the use of evidence and analysis in different stages of the policy process from problem identification, option appraisal, political constraint analysis, through to policy evaluation. Through applied exercises students will gain skills in interpreting evidence, analysing quantitative and qualitative data, and crafting persuasive policy arguments based on evidence. Throughout the course students will consider broader themes on the use of knowledge in public policy, including the politics, risks and political economy of knowledge production in a data rich world. Consideration is also given to emerging forms of policy analysis such as data visualisation, behavioural insights, forecasting, and machine learning from big data.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
1. demonstrate a working knowledge of key terms and concepts associated with evidence and policy analysis
2. interpret and analyse different types of policy relevant data
3. appraise the strengths and weaknesses of different quantitative and qualitative approaches to policy analysis
4. contribute to informed discussions on evidence based policy making, the politics and political economy of knowledge production
5. demonstrate the ability to think independently and communicate persuasively by drawing on policy evidence and analysis
see for detailed reading list the course related wattle site
Recommended (though not required for purchase):
Althaus, Catherine, Peter Bridgeman, and Glyn Davis. The Australian Policy Handbook, 4th edition
Argyros, George. 2009. Evidence for Policy and Decision Making. A Practical Guide. UNSW Press
Bardach, Eugene and Eric M. Patashnik. A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis. SAGE. 5 edition.
Boaz, A., Davies, H., Fraser, A. & Nutley, S. (2019). (Eds.) What works now? Evidence-informed policy and practice. Bristol: Policy Press.
Dunn W. 2016. Public Policy Analysis: An Introduction. Routledge. Cartwright, Nancy and Hardie, Jeremy. 2012.
Evidence-Based Policy. A Practical Guide to Doing Better. Oxford University Press
Schwartz-Shea, Peregrine, and Dvora Yanow. 2011. Interpretive Research Design: Concepts and Processes. 1 edition. New York, NY: Routledge.
Meltzer, Rachel and Schwartz, Alex. 2019. Policy Analysis as Problem Solving. Routledge.
Majone, G. 1989. Evidence, Argument, and Persuasion in the Policy Process. New Haven CT, Yale University Press.
Patton, Carl. V., Sawicki, D., and Clark, Jennifer J. 2013. Basic Methods of Policy Analysis and Planning.
Pearson. Stoker, Gerry and Mark Evans (ed). 2016. Evidence-based policy making in the Social Sciences. Methods that Matter. Policy Press.
Weimer, David L. and Aidan R Vining. 2017. Policy Analysis. Concepts and Practice. Routledge. (6 edition)
Wildavsky, A. 1979. Speaking Truth to Power: The Art and Craft of Policy Analysis. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.
Staff FeedbackStudents will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
- Written comments
- Verbal comments
- Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups
Student FeedbackANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Week 1 (Feb 25) Introduction: Policy-making as Problem Solving - the 'rationality project' revisited (Lecture)||None|
|2||Part A: Foundations: How can we know what works? Week 2 (March 3) History: Expertise and the Technocratic State (Lecture)||None|
|3||Week 3 (March 10) Impact Evaluations (Lecture)||None|
|4||Week 4 (March 17) Economic Modeling (Lecture)||None|
|5||Week 5 (March 24) Cost-Benefit-Analysis (Lecture)||Take Home Essay 1|
|6||Week 6 (March 31) Policy Analysis Exercise (In Class)||None|
|7||Part B: How can we convince policy makers to do what works? Week 7 (April 21) Demand-Side Approaches (Lecture)||None|
|8||Week 8 (April 28) Supply-Side Approaches (Lecture)||None|
|9||Part C: Challenges Week 9 (May 5) Limitations of Policy-Making. Policy as Politics (Lecture)||Take Home Essay 2|
|10||Week 10 (May 12) Participatory Concerns - Can we know what works without asking the people it's supposed to work for? (Lecture)||None|
|11||Week 11 (May 19) What do we really know? Epistemology, Methods and Ethics (Lecture)||None|
|12||Week 12 (May 26) Wrap-up: Better Data, Better Government? (Lecture)||None|
|13||Examination Period Final Exam||Final Exam|
There will be a wattle sign up process for the tutorials
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|Reflective Exercise||25 %||23/03/2020||05/04/2020||1,4,5|
|Case Study Analysis||25 %||04/05/2020||21/05/2020||1, 2 ,3|
|Final Exam||40 %||04/06/2020||02/07/2020||1,2,3,4,5|
|Tutorial Exercises||10 %||*||02/07/2020||2,4|
* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details
PoliciesANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:
Assessment RequirementsThe ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.
Moderation of AssessmentMarks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.
Class and Tutorial Participation is expected
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1,4,5
Based on your experience in making, observing or being the subject of decisions by an organisation, write a short review (800-1000 words) of how evidence is used to support policy and/or decision making in an organisation. In your review, you should consider equally the following three issues:
- What kinds of evidence are considered more or less ‘legitimate’?
- Are some methods of collecting information preferred over others? If so, why?
- Based on your experience with the organisation, what changes would you recommend to improve the use of evidence for decision-making?
Tip: wherever possible, relate your discussion of the practice in your workplace or observed organisation to the literature in class that discusses the nature and use of evidence in policy-making.
Note: to preserve confidentiality, you are not required to nominate the organisation that you have worked in, observed or of which you have been a client. Just describe its role and your role—for example, as an employee, observer or client.
This assignment is worth 25% of your final grade.
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2 ,3
Case Study Analysis
The second assignment will consist of writing a memo based on a case study. The memo should cover the following issues:
· What is the policy issue at hand?
· What data, if any, was drawn upon to make and evaluate the policy?
· What methods/techniques were used to analyse the data, if any (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, natural experiment)
· What intervening factors, if any, might have complicated the use of evidence and analysis in making and evaluating this policy?
The memo will be evaluated on the ability to clearly state the problem, consider the data and relevant techniques, and assess any intervening factors affecting causality. In short, the paper is not an argumentative piece in the narrow sense, but it is meant to illustrate your understanding of policy-relevant data and techniques, and their use as tools to interpret policy issues and make evidence-based change.
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5
The final assignment will be an exam consistent of short answer and long answer questions covering the whole class content.
Assessment Task 4
Learning Outcomes: 2,4
Three short tutorial exercises will contribute to the overall class grade.
Academic IntegrityAcademic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.
Online SubmissionThe ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.
Hardcopy SubmissionFor some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.
Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.
Referencing RequirementsAccepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.
Extensions and PenaltiesExtensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.
Distribution of grades policyAcademic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.
Support for studentsThe University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
- ANU Health, safety & wellbeing for medical services, counselling, mental health and spiritual support
- ANU Diversity and inclusion for students with a disability or ongoing or chronic illness
- ANU Dean of Students for confidential, impartial advice and help to resolve problems between students and the academic or administrative areas of the University
- ANU Academic Skills and Learning Centre supports you make your own decisions about how you learn and manage your workload.
- ANU Counselling Centre promotes, supports and enhances mental health and wellbeing within the University student community.
- ANUSA supports and represents undergraduate and ANU College students
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Comparative Judicial Politics, Governance Reform, Research Methods
AsPr Bjoern Dressel