- Class Number 4700
- Term Code 3250
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Topic On Campus
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- Dr Laura Davy
- Dr Laura Davy
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 15/08/2022
- Class End Date 09/10/2022
- Census Date 02/09/2022
- Last Date to Enrol 22/08/2022
Policy Advocacy is a graduate course in policy communication, requiring no specialist knowledge or experience of public policy or administration. The course examines strategies and tactics used by policy advocates inside and outside government when marshalling argument and evidence to promote their preferred outcomes. The course is designed to strengthen students' understanding of the nature of advocacy and of place of policy advocacy in the policy process. The course materials draw on many disciplines: rhetoric, philosophy, policy analysis and public administration. Examples include many Australian, as well as international and transnational cases, but the aim is more general: to stimulate learning about the many ways that policy advocacy is pursued and seeks to shape policy choice, especially in political systems with open forms of deliberative democracy.
Innovations include the regular use of video material illustrating classic advocacy practices used by policy makers, prominent public leaders and interest groups. You will also be taught how to conduct your own analysis of advocacy strategies through examining and comparing policy documents. The Brick of required readings draws from the classics such as Aristotle’s rhetoric but also more recent applications and developments in examining and understanding the significance of the art of persuasion, such as through discourse analysis but also experimentalist governance.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Contribute to practical small-group exercises in policy advocacy
- Discuss and debate the value of core readings in policy advocacy
- Demonstrate analytical examination of core concepts in the field of policy advocacy
- Demonstrate critical analysis of one or more selected case studies in policy advocacy
- Reflect on and communicate professional and personal lessons gained in the course
Whether you are on campus or studying remotely, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.
ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.
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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Day 1: Policy advocacy and policy change In this first topic we define policy advocacy, explore the various forms it takes and the diverse actors who engage in it, including community and civil society groups, political lobbyists, and policy entrepreneurs within government. We will also examine the role of advocacy in policy processes and in creating political change. Our first case studies – the school strikes for climate action and policy debate on gun control – will help unpack these issues.|
|2||Day 2: Policy analysis and communication Policy analysis and communication are critical to effective policy advocacy – language and knowledge do more than describe the world, they also shape perspectives. In this topic we draw on the tradition of feminist policy analysis to explore how theories and framings originating in social advocacy movements sometimes come to be integrated within mainstream policy discourse. We also look at the rhetorical and communicative strategies that policy advocates deploy to persuade stakeholders and influence policy processes, analysing the campaign messaging in the lead up to the Australian same-sex marriage plebiscite as our case study.||Assignment 1: In class quiz to take place at the end of today’s seminar|
|3||Day 3: Voice and representation In this topic we explore questions of representation, legitimacy, and accountability, from both a critical and a practical standpoint. We will look at how feminist, disability and Indigenous policy advocates have negotiated issues of representation and voice. We will also examine the ways in which advocacy organisations and other interest groups address these issues by engaging with people affected by policy through a variety of consultative and participatory processes. Our key case study for this week will be the development of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.||Assignment 2: Comparative framing analysis due this week|
|4||Day 4: Policy advocacy strategy In this topic we explore how individuals and organisations engage in strategic policy advocacy. We look at how policy advocates choose issues as part of a wider agenda for change, build support for their proposals, and develop coalitions and networks. We also examine the ‘toolkit’ of activities available to policy advocates, which range from protests, submissions and policy briefs to performances, petitions, and boycotts – and the way these have transformed in the digital age. We will analyse the ‘Every Australian Counts’ campaign, which contributed to the development of the Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme, to examine policy advocacy strategy in action, including the way in which online methods of engaging grassroots support amplified its reach.|
|5||Day 5: Analysing and evaluating policy advocacy In this topic we explore approaches to analysing policy advocacy strategy and tactics, as well as issues around defining and assessing policy advocacy impact. The lectures will cover key approaches to collecting and analysing data about advocacy activities, with a special focus on narrative and discourse analysis. Our case study will focus on different approaches adopted by researchers to analyse regulation of the baby food industry in the Philippines. We will also review other qualitative and quantitative techniques used to evaluate policy influence in the field. In seminars, students will work in groups to design an evaluation framework for examples of policy advocacy we have analysed in the course so far.|
|6||Day 6: Workshop Day 6 is a workshop day – in the seminar, students will present their Research Essay Plan (a non-graded formative assessment) and receive structured feedback from peers and the course convenor. Groups from Day 5 will also present the evaluation frameworks they developed in class. There are no readings allocated to this topic as it is expected that you will be reading widely to inform your essay plan.|
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|In class quiz||15 %||26/08/2022||05/09/2022||2, 3|
|Comparative media analysis||35 %||18/09/2022||30/09/2022||3, 4|
|Research essay||50 %||09/10/2022||01/12/2022||3, 4, 5|
* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details
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Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3
In class quiz
The first assessment task for this course is an online, ‘open book’ quiz, which will be available in Wattle at the end of the Day Two seminar. The quiz will involve a mix of multiple choice and short answer questions, which you will be given 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete. The questions will refer to content covered in the lectures, readings, and seminars for Days 1 and 2. The questions will be straightforward (no ‘trick’ questions or assumed knowledge!). To prepare, make sure to watch and engage with each lecture, read the compulsory readings, and participate in seminar activities to consolidate understanding.
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 3, 4
Comparative media analysis
For Assignment 2, you will need to find the websites of two organisations that engage in policy advocacy and prepare a short report (max. 1,500 words) that compares the way these organisations represent the issue or problem they are advocating about through the information on their website.
Your report should clearly identify the purpose of the site, the type of organisation it belongs to, and the policy issue the organisation advocates about. It should also address the way the websites represent and analyse the issue, the audience they are appealing to, and the way they use different types and sources of evidence to do so. It should critically comment on the differences and similarities between the way the two websites frame their communications. The organisations can be Australian or international, community-based or a government agency – it's up to you. But make sure to pick two that you can contrast (e.g., same policy issue, but different organisational types, policy aims, or strategies).
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 3, 4, 5
For Assignment 3, you will research and analyse the strategies used in a policy advocacy campaign, presenting your analysis in an essay (max 3,500 words).
This assignment is a research essay, so it must have a central argument in which you critically assess the appropriateness and effectiveness of the campaign strategies, and it must be informed and supported by evidence. The evidence you draw on should include scholarly evidence (course readings, academic articles, books, etc.) and other data related to your chosen campaign (news articles, websites, blogs, other ‘grey literature’, interviews with stakeholders, etc.). The advocacy campaign can be a current or past one and can be based in Australia or elsewhere.
The essay should address elements of the campaign such as:
- The organisations, individuals, and networks are involved, and how they work together
- How policy arguments are framed, and what communicative techniques are deployed to amplify key messages
- The engagement mechanisms and activities are used in the campaign to build community and/or policymaker support
- The effectiveness or impact of the campaign.
You will have the opportunity to present a plan of your research essay on Day Six in seminars. This is a non-graded assessment that will allow you to receive feedback from peers and the course convenor/lecturer, particularly focused on planned approaches to research and analysis.
Students should prepare a one-page plan for their research essay to structure their presentation. The plan should include a brief overview of a) your chosen policy advocacy campaign, b) the data sources you will use to analyse this campaign, c) your approach to analysis, and d) potential lines argument or conclusions you will draw in the essay.
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