- Class Number 7359
- Term Code 3160
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- Dr Azad Singh Bali
- Prof Darren Halpin
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 26/07/2021
- Class End Date 29/10/2021
- Census Date 14/09/2021
- Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
This course will provide an introduction to the study of public policy. It provides an overview of the main theories of public policy processes and examples of their application in the scholarly literature. The course will review the key challenges facing public policy makers. The approach will blend theory and case studies.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- understand the key theories of the policy process;
- analyse case studies of policy making using a variety of policy making theories;
- understand contemporary public policy challenges and approaches to resolving them; and
- demonstrate advanced skills in oral and written communication, research and critical analysis.
There is no key textbook. We will provide resources for you to access through out the course.
Althaus, C., P. Bridgman and G. Davis (2007) The Australian Policy Handbook. (4th edn). Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin. This is a very accessible (and relatively inexpensive) textbook covering the key elements of public policy processes in Australia. It is more descriptive than explanatory or theoretical.
Cairney, P.(2012) Understanding Public Policy. Theories and Issues. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. A introductory textbook written for an international audience covering key theoretical approaches in policy studies.
Fenna, A. (2004) Australian Public Policy. ( 2nd edn). Frenchs Forest: Pearson Longman Australia. This is a more detailed and theoretically informed text than Althaus et al (2007). It is worth consulting for insights into particular issues of contention in Australian public policy such as ideology, federalism, and tax policy.
Hill, M. (2005), The Public Policy Process (4th edn). (Harlow and New York: Pearson Longman). A clearly=written introductory textbook written primarily for a British audience but with international perspectives. It has useful summaries of the main theories of politics and policy-making.
Howlett, M, M Ramesh and A Perl (2020) Studying Public Policy. New York: OUP HRP is an advanced reading into public policy. It contains a lot of references to most recent scholarship that may be useful as you are writing your term papers
Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
- written comments
- verbal comments
- feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc
ANU 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||Introduction||In this introductory class we will explain the course design and clarify the assessment tasks. We will encourage students to reflect critically on the central topic of the course: public policy. The various meanings of the term will be outlined, compared, and discussed. Students will be introduced to the stages model of the Policy Cycle, where each week we will study a particular stage.|
|2||Public Policy: Key Concepts||In this week we begin to explore some of the key concepts and ideas that are used in public policy theories and frameworks in the coming weeks. In particular, we will pay attention to (i) path dependency (ii) institutions (iii) actors (iv) ideas (v) interests|
|3||Agenda-Setting||Defining public problems is not a neutral act. It involves selecting certain facts and values as important in one’s representation of the world while dismissing others. At any given time, different groups push their problem definitions into the public and political realm. They work to ‘frame’ problems and issues to grab the attention of key power brokers (such as the mass media) and policy makers. Without this attention, even the best-argued case for policy reform can fall flat. This week we describe how the scarce resource of ‘attention’ is allocated in political systems. In particular, we will pay attention to the multiple stream model and the Issue-Attention Cycle and Multiple Streams Model|
|4||Policy Formulation||This week we will look at what tools (techniques and mechanisms available to governments) governments have at their disposal to address a particular policy goal. We will dive deeper into a popular framework in the literature used to classify and sort through different policy tools. This topic concludes with a checklist of five conditions for effective policy formulation.|
|5||Decision-Making||Decision-making processes on what policies to adapt vary significantly from case to case and across countries. The decision-making process has an important impact on the design of the policies adopted and therefore also on their ability to effectively address the policy problems. This week we look at different approaches or models of decision-making. We will explore ideal-rational type, incrementalism, and the garbage can model which has been used to describe irrational or chaotic decision-making.|
|6||Implementation||Most policy arenas can be characterised as shared power worlds: no single actor can make binding decisions about policies and programs by themselves alone. This means that whatever their substantive disagreements may be, all actors (politicians, bureaucrats, interest groups, and citizens) in policy processes know that they are also at least in part mutually interdependent. This week develops this focus on interaction towards the pivotal issue of implementation, or as it once was put ‘what happens after a bill becomes a law.’ Several decades of implementation research suggests that the answer to this query is: ‘a great deal’, and that it is in fact the interactions at this post-decisional stage of the policy cycle that are perhaps the most crucial determinant of the success or failure of public policies and programs. Mid Term Exam Scheduled|
|7||Policy Learning, Success, and Failure||Do governments learn from their mistakes? What is a successful public policy? Is success in the eyes of the beholder? This week we will interrogate these questions by looking how and to what extent governments learn, what factors precipitate learning, and what constrain them. We will also introduce a framework to evaluate policy success.|
|8||Policy Change||Many theories of the policy process explaining the stability of public policies over time, but has struggled to explain policy changes. This week, we engage in the debate on policy reform but firstly considers various types of policy changes and differing trajectories of policy reform. There is a growing interest in analysing the role of ideas in policy change. Ideas are narratives linking events in causal order and thereby providing meaning to certain policy situations. All public policies rest upon a dominant idea. When ideas change, established policy institutions are challenged. We will discuss how institutions are affected by ideational change and what it means for the sustainability of the policy reforms. What may happen after policy reforms have been adopted? Do they survive and change the direction of actual government intervention, or are they reversed back to the original policy? What strategies were adopted?|
|9||Empirical Deep Dive||In weeks 9-11, we will re-visit the theoretical concepts that we have studied in this course and apply them to contemporary and real-world policy issues. Students are expected to come prepared to apply these concepts to diverse cases or examples. Some examples you could consider marriage equality in Australia, home insulation program, national vaccination drive. Students are also encouraged to think about their assessment tasks, and can use the tutorials or seminar discussion to workshop their ideas for their papers. More information about these weeks will be provided closer to the date. The reading list for this week will be crowd sourced from students!|
|10||Empirical Deep Dive||In weeks 9-11, we will re-visit the theoretical concepts that we have studied in this course and apply them to contemporary and real-world policy issues. Students are expected to come prepared to apply these concepts to diverse cases or examples. Some examples you could consider marriage equality in Australia, home insulation program, national vaccination drive. Students are also encouraged to think about their assessment tasks, and can use the tutorials or seminar discussion to workshop their ideas for their papers. More information about these weeks will be provided closer to the date. The reading list for this week will be crowd sourced from students!|
|11||Empirical Deep Dive||In weeks 9-11, we will re-visit the theoretical concepts that we have studied in this course and apply them to contemporary and real-world policy issues. Students are expected to come prepared to apply these concepts to diverse cases or examples. Some examples you could consider marriage equality in Australia, home insulation program, national vaccination drive. Students are also encouraged to think about their assessment tasks, and can use the tutorials or seminar discussion to workshop their ideas for their papers. More information about these weeks will be provided closer to the date. The reading list for this week will be crowd sourced from students!|
|12||Conclusion||This concluding section will summarize key concepts in the course, as well as introduce the idea of comparative public policy. For e.g. why is it that the American response to the pandemic was very different from that of Australia? What public policy concepts and ideas should we interrogate in responding to such a question.|
|Assessment task||Value||Learning Outcomes|
|Take Home Exam||35 %||1-5|
|Scaffolding Term Paper 1 (750 words)||15 %||1-4|
|Scaffolding Term Paper 2 - 2000 words||40 %||1-4|
|Tutorial Work||10 %||1-4|
* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details
ANU 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:
The 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 Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.
Moderation of Assessment
Marks 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.
This is a research-led course. Students are expected to come prepared to the tutorials having completed the readings, and be prepared to engage with their peers in a collegial and respectful manner.
There will be mid-semester exam
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1-5
Take Home Exam
The take home exam will be a take-home exam designed to test knowledge of the course material covered in the lectures, assigned readings and tutorials. It may consist of short and long answer (essay) questions. The take home exam will be scheduled in the 6th Week of the 2nd of Semester.
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 1-4
Scaffolding Term Paper 1 (750 words)
The main assessment task in this course is a research paper where students use concepts in public policy to understand an aspect of a real-life policy issue. For e.g., what were the competing definitions of the policy issue? How was the policy issue raised on the national agenda? What factors shaped decision-making? Why is it challenging to change policy? Students will be given a series of questions that they can choose from to help develop their paper.
We understand that this can be challenging to write so we have set this up as a scaffolding exercise. In the first scaffolding term paper, students will provide an overview of their chosen policy issue and the theoretical concept they would use to analyse the issue further. Students will receive feedback that they can incorporate in their final paper. More information on this assessment, and a marking rubric will be available closer to the assessment deadline.
Assignment Outline: available on Wattle
Estimated Submission: Week 8
Estimated Return Date: 10 business days
Submitted: Electronically via Turnitin
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 1-4
Scaffolding Term Paper 2 - 2000 words
In the final assessment task, students are expected to further engage with the theoretical concepts and their empirical policy issue and flesh this out to a complete 2000 word research paper. The goal of this assessment task is similar to the previous one, i.e. use concept of public policy to explain an aspect of a real-life policy issue. Students are expected to incorporate feedback from Scaffolding Term Paper 1, and flesh out the concept in more detail. More information on this assessment, and a marking rubric will be available closer to the assessment deadline.
Assignment Outline: available on Wattle
Estimated Submission: One week after the last class.
Estimated Return Date: After exam period
Submitted: Electronically via Turnitin
Assessment Task 4
Learning Outcomes: 1-4
Students are required to attend and contribute at tutorial sessions, where a note will be made by the tutor of individual contributions. More details will be agreed during the first tutorial in Week 2.
Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.
The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.
You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.
For 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.
Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:
- Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
- Late submission permitted. 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.
Accepted 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.
Assignments will be marked on Turnitin, and returned within 10 business days.
Extensions and Penalties
Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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 policy
Academic 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 students
The 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
- PARSA supports and represents postgraduate and research students