Framework for Final Policy Analysis Paper

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I. Definition of the Problem A. How is the problem defined? What, for example, does pollution, joblessness, or health care mean? B. Who is affected by the problem and in what ways (e.g., people with asthma, unemployed steelworkers, the elderly)? C. Who defines it as a problem? Why do they think it is a problem? One cannot assume that every social problem is recognized as such. D. Who does not define it as a problem? Why not? Is it due to ignorance of the situation, to personal values or ideology, to indifference, to belief in the futility of solving the problem? E. Who are the key decision-makers (individual or groups) that presently control the power and resources that affect the problem? (state legislators? news media? interest groups?)


II. Causal Factors A. [Macro view] What are the social/structural sources of the problem (e.g., distribution of power, wealth and status, political ideologies, societal values and norms, existing policies and programs, culture)? B. [Micro view] What are the sources of the problem inherent in individuals who share the problem? (e.g., lack of education, felony conviction) C. How much verified knowledge is there about the causes of the problem? What are the known, measurable facts?

III. Policy Goals and Objectives (Subjective; use your best-informed judgement) A. What is the most desired goal in respect to the problem? This is a statement of the ideal outcome (e.g., higher education should be 100% state funded, the traffic lights in downtown should be timed, garbage pickup should be privatized). B. What are the achievable objectives? These should be stated in operational, measurable terms. Statements of objectives take into consideration rational and non-rational constraints. Objectives can be specified in relation to one or all of the following: 1. The total societal problem or some aspect of the problem (in one year to reduce by 30% the amount of outstanding child support debt, to reduce by 10% the cost of garbage pickup) 2. The total target and risk population (increase childhood immunizations by10% in one year) 3. A proportion or sub-group of that population (reduce by 20% the number of uninsured children) IV. Policy Development A. What policy has been developed to deal with the problem? Briefly discuss the history and scope of this policy (the policy you are researching). B. What is the legislative history and political processes through which this policy developed or would need to develop (or a change in this policy took place)? C. What are the core values (e.g., equality, equity, fiscal savings, revenue enhancing) or ideology (limited government, incrementalism, economics) on which this policy is based? D. What choices (including value choices) does this policy make regarding: a) allocations (recipients of policy benefits); b) service delivery (how the policy is implemented); and c) financing and funding (how will the policy be paid for)? E. What is your assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of this policy? What is the policy actually doing or accomplishing, rather than what is claimed? F. Are the results of these policies and programs being evaluated? If not, why not? If yes, how are the findings being utilized? G. Based on the best information about effectiveness, are these policies and programs likely to reduce, increase, or leave the problem unchanged? In other words, what is happening in the implementation of these policies?

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