Policy Making Process: Final Assignment Policy Evaluation

Students will be required to submit a final report covering all aspects of the policy analysis.  Papers should be prepared in standard APA format, unless we have determined your presentation would be best suited for another format.  Section headers, bullets and numbered lists will be left up to the student’s discretion.  Papers should be 10-12 pages in length.  Papers must follow the format below and must be clearly noted.  This report should be written with your audience in mind.  It is generally helpful to mentally focus on who the Policy presentation is prepared (e.g., city council, county board of supervisors, state or federal legislature).  Remember, your elected officials may not be experts in your field, so be sure to write clearly, concisely, and avoid jargon that only people working in that particular policy area would understand and know. 

  • Executive Summary:  This section should be 250-500 words in length, and contain brief information on the problem, causes, stakeholders, policy alternatives, outcomes, and evaluation criteria.  This is not an introduction; this is condensed overview of your entire report.
  • Societal problems/issue:  The problem/issue section will focus on the problem or issue you want to address.  Remember to state the problem/issue in terms of your constituents.  Provide statistical evidence for every claim in this section (again, I understand this may be purely hypothetical), and support statements from authorities (if you feel this will strengthen your paper).  Remember the “lack of” something is not necessarily a problem.  Make sure your data is pertinent to the region of your concern (e.g., if you are looking at the problem of AIDS in California, you may want to avoid quoting statistics of an increase of AIDS in Africa, as their social structure is not at all similar to ours).  Also include causes of the problem, if that is appropriate to your topic.
  • Policy Background:  What is the current state of policy related to this problem?  What policies are currently in effect that impact the problem (positive or negative)?  What has been tried in the past?     
  • Clients and/or stakeholders:  The stakeholders section will identify the main stakeholders and a statement on each their concerns.
  • Policy Alternative:  This section should include details of each policy alternative, including specific policy details, exceptions, and enforcement expectations.  Additionally, consider including information on where a similar policy may have been tried in the past, whether or not it failed or succeeded, if the region was similar to your focus region, and any lessons learned (if applicable).  The policy alternative should be clear, concise and able to stand alone so that the reader will fully understand the option.
  • Anticipated Outcomes:  This section should include a measurable outcome that will result from implementing the policy alternative.  For the “As Is” condition, this section should address the expected results if no changes are made.  Consider using trends, statistics, and/or changes in conditions that assist in your calculation.  The objective should be followed by a brief description of terms and a defense for the measurable component.
  • Activities:  This section should include a brief hypothetical timeline for the major steps necessary to implement and sustain the policy alternative, and the responsible department/agency to complete the majority of the activity.  This should be done the best you can.  I realize this is all a guess at this point and you have not spent great amounts of time with your policy.  Do the best you can. 
  • Budget:  This section should include major expenditures and budget amounts necessary to implement the policy alternative.  Do what you can to guess amounts.  If you have documentation to back up your figures, that would be great, but obviously if you do not have documentation it can’t be provided. 
  • Evaluation:  After all policy alternatives have been presented (typically, students will present two alternatives, with one alternative being the “as is” condition which requires no changes to existing policy), students should also include their evaluation criteria, and a justification for using the selected criteria. 
  • Conclusion/Recommendation:  This section is designed to pull together a summary of the pros/cons of each alternative.  It can be presented as a recommendation for one alternative over another, or simply layout the benefits and drawbacks of the alternatives based on the evaluation criteria, and then the elected official can make his/her informed decision.

Although there is no specific number of required references, it is necessary to have ample references to support all claims in the report.  Assignments will be graded on compliance with these instructions, viability of alternatives, APA format, grammar, research, and writing ability, format, and a mastery of the material.  Be sure to include any appendix documents, as needed.  Papers should use the section headers listed above to designate where each section begins.  Enjoy the experience. 

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