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:
- demonstrate a working knowledge of key terms and concepts associated with evidence and policy analysis
- interpret and analyse different types of policy relevant data
- appraise the strengths and weaknesses of different quantitative and qualitative approaches to policy analysis
- contribute to informed discussions on evidence based policy making, the politics and political economy of knowledge production
- demonstrate the ability to think independently and communicate persuasively by drawing on policy evidence and analysis
- Data interpretation exercise (20) [LO 1,4,5]
- Essay on the role of evidence in public policy (40) [LO 1,2,3]
- Policy Analysis Project (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
The 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.
Workload10 hours per week: 3-4 hours in class and the remainder in individual and group study
Requisite and Incompatibility
Dunn W. 2016. Public Policy Analysis : An introduction. Routledge: London.
Dror, Y. (1964). Muddling through: “science” or inertia? Public Administration Review, 24, 153–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dryzek, J. S. (2006). Policy analysis as critique. In M. Moran, M. Rein, & R. E. Goodin (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of public policy, chapter 9 (pp. 190–203). New York: Oxford University Press.
Head, B. 2008. ‘Three Lenses of Evidence-based Policy’, Australian Journal of Public Administration, 67, 1, 1–11.
Majone, G. 1989. Evidence, Argument, and Persuasion in the Policy Process. New Haven CT, Yale University Press.
Weiss, C. H., E. Murphy-Graham, A. Petrosino andA. G. Gandhi. 2008. ‘The Fairy Godmother—and Her Warts Making the Dream of Evidence-Based Policy Come True’, American Journal of Evaluation, 29, 1, 29–47.
Wildavsky, A. 1979. Speaking Truth to Power: The Art and Craft of Policy Analysis. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.