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A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis
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A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis
The Eightfold Path to More Effective Problem Solving

Fifth Edition


© 2016 | 224 pages | CQ Press
Eugene Bardach and new co-author Eric Patashnik draw on more than 40 years of experience teaching students to be effective, accurate, and persuasive policy analysts. This bestselling handbook presents dozens of concrete tips, interesting case studies, and step-by-step strategies for the budding analyst as well as the seasoned professional.
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
Introduction
 
Part I THE EIGHTFOLD PATH
 
Step One: Define the Problem
 
Step Two: Assemble Some Evidence
 
Step Three: Construct the Alternatives
 
Step Four: Select the Criteria
 
Step Five: Project the Outcomes
 
Step Six: Confront the Trade-Offs
 
Step Seven: Stop, Focus, Narrow, Deepen, Decide!
 
Step Eight: Tell Your Story
 
PART II ASSEMBLING EVIDENCE
 
Getting Started
 
Locating Relevant Sources
 
Gaining Access and Engaging Assistance
 
Conducting a Policy Research Interview
 
Using Language to Characterize and Calibrate
 
Protecting Credibility
 
Strategic Dilemmas of Policy Research
 
PART III HANDLING A DESIGN PROBLEM
 
It's a Production System
 
Crosswalks to the Eightfold Path
 
Define the Problem—Focus on a Primary Outcome
 
Construct the Alternatives—Configure the System’s Organizational Structure and Its Operating Processes
 
Select the Criteria—Define the Objectives to Be Achieved
 
Project the Outcomes—Test Whether It Will Work
 
Confront the Trade-Offs—Examine the System from Multiple Perspectives
 
Design a Transition Strategy
 
PART IV “SMART (BEST) PRACTICES” RESEARCH: UNDERSTANDING AND MAKING USE OF WHAT LOOK LIKE GOOD IDEAS FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE
 
Develop Realistic Expectations
 
Analyze Smart Practices
 
Observe the Practice
 
Describe Generic Vulnerabilities
 
But Will It Work Here?
 
Back to the Eightfold Path
 
APPENDIX A SPECIMEN OF A REAL-WORLD POLICY ANALYSIS
 
Preface
 
Summary
 
Reducing Consumption: More Enforcement against Typical Dealers
 
Reducing Consumption: More Enforcement against Higher-Level Dealers
 
Reducing Cocaine-Related Crime
 
Conclusion
 
Appendix B THINGS GOVERNMENTS DO
 
Taxes
 
Regulation
 
Subsidies and Grants
 
Service Provision
 
Agency Budgets
 
Information
 
The Structure of Private Rights
 
The Framework of Economic Activity
 
Education and Consultation
 
Financing and Contracting
 
Bureaucratic and Political Reforms
 
APPENDIX C UNDERSTANDING PUBLIC AND NONPROFIT INSTITUTIONS: ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
 
Mission
 
Environment
 
Performance Measurement
 
Technology
 
Production/Delivery Processes
 
Frontline Workers and Co-Producers
 
Partners and Other Outsiders
 
Centralization/Decentralization
 
Culture and Communications
 
Politics
 
Leadership
 
Change
 
APPENDIX D STRATEGIC ADVICE ON THE DYNAMICS OF GATHERING POLITICAL SUPPORT
 
Sequencing
 
Timing
 
APPENDIX E TIPS FOR WORKING WITH CLIENTS
 
References
 
Index

A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis remains the most accessible and practical guide for those learning the craft of policy analysis. It offers convincing reasoning for and a clear roadmap of the required steps to conduct policy analysis, provides a terrific list of useful resources and helpful hints, and offers very practical illustrations and examples. The newly added section on design problems broadens discourse to include not only knowledge on how to improve analysis of discrete policy choices, but also on how to generate effective strategies to change the design parameters of policy problems. It should be required reading for all students in public affairs type undergraduate major and graduate level programs.”

Michael Stoll
University of California, Los Angeles

“I have used Bardach’s A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis in several editions over many years to instruct masters in public policy students in the skills and insights required of an effective policy practitioner.  I like the book for its conciseness, its concreteness, its practicality and its accessibility.  It provides a nice framework and set of concepts that can be developed and applied in case studies to structure an effective policy analysis course.  I welcome the new edition, which clarifies and updates the material and adds a helpful new section on policy design, while keeping the structure and down-to-earth writing style of previous editions.”

Mary Jo Bane
Thornton Bradshaw Professor of Public Policy and Management, Harvard Kennedy School

Really like Dr. Bardach's work! This book is used in my graduate capstone course to show corresponding tasks of the analysts and academic researcher in graduate public administration courses.

Thanks

Professor Kimberley Garth-James
Business Administration Dept, Notre Dame De Namur University
November 29, 2016

I wrote a review of a previous edition of the textbook. If you would like to publish an excerpt and LSE Review of Books has no objection, I would also be fine with you using text from this review: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsereviewofbooks/2012/09/11/book-review-a-practic...

Jennifer Miller
Ed Administration/Policy Dept, Univ Of Southern California
October 6, 2016

Only one chapter was relevant for an assignment.

Ms Ryan Bender
470000, Portland State University
September 19, 2016

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