What are the methods of policy analysis


Policy analysis

(Concept / Volker von Prittwitz / October 26, 2010)


Colloquially means Analyzeto examine something systematically or in depth. Policy analysis is therefore the systematic or in-depth investigation of politics. If a comparative approach is taken here, from Comparative Policy Analysis to be spoken.


Scientific policy analysis

Political science is an ideal framework for such an analysis. Because science examines its subjects in depth, often comparing them, and politics is the declared subject of political science. Accordingly, policy analysis is often interpreted as a form of political science research (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politikanalyse). This means a theoretical as well as a methodological foundation.

The terms, models and methods with which scientific policy analysis operates in detail is, in principle, open. In any case, the models and methods used should be identified and reflected on. A basic model of policy analysis that is now widespread is the multidimensional concept of politics policy, politics and polity: In the policy dimension (precisely: public policy = public action) it is about content-related politics, especially about the search for optimal general welfare-oriented solutions. In the politics-Dimension, interaction processes between political actors are examined, whereby relevant variables such as actor interests, value orientations, world views / ideas, actor constellations and forms of interaction and communication play a role. In the polity-Dimension, finally, are institutional-political systems, for example forms of democracy and autocracy, of importance (http://www.luciusverlag.com/shop/product_info.php/info/p9666_Vergleichende-Politikanalyse.html/XTCsid/1e813b66183f2d70f0b86daa9c393c2f)

Analytically, each of these dimensions can be set centrally. If, for example, it is investigated which climate policy measures appear necessary to ensure a maximum CO2 growth of 2% in the 21st century, the policy dimension is central. If, on the other hand, one wants to understand a real political, for example historical, process, considerations of problems and goals of individual actors are only taken into account within the framework of the set of variables of process analysis (with interests, value orientations, etc.) With the help of the multidimensional concept of politics, however, tensions between different political demands can also and especially be analyzed. For example, it can be examined to what extent certain interests, value orientations, world views or forms of communication hinder or promote efforts to achieve effective climate protection or adaptation to climate change.


Application-oriented policy analysis

Anyone who has the theoretical and methodological foundations of scientific policy analysis and who specializes in a policy or problem area is qualified for application-oriented policy analysis. Political analysts with this qualification can certainly keep up with specialists from other professions, for example specialist lawyers or specialist economists; yes, they even have special analytical skills that can be particularly explanatory in individual cases. As a rule, this requires specialization and the integration into relationship networks of the respective problem or application fields.


Other forms of analysis

Based on the ancient Greek word analyomai (I dissolve) can Analyze also as to dissolve and combine again in a targeted manner be understood. Scientific research and application-oriented policy analysis based on it are therefore only forms of analysis among others. Objects can also be purposefully (mentally or materially) dissolved and recombined in other media, such as in practical everyday life, in art and entertainment. This also applies to the subject area of ​​politics:

  • Political actors continuously analyze the political situation, mostly unconsciously using models and methods that they consider appropriate.

  • Journalistic policy analysis consists in the fact that professional manufacturers and intermediaries of the public record, interpret, analyze and disseminate information that is published daily. Here too, policy models are usually used covertly or unconsciously.

  • Political education cannot achieve its goals, for example the promotion of vital democracy and an open society, simply by imparting knowledge about politics. Rather, it must above all enable its addressees to be able to reasonably analyze politics independently.

  • Art and entertainment, for example caricatures, comics or comedy / cabaret, form special political-analytical media. It is hardly about general knowledge or current information transfer, but primarily about special forms of dissolution and recombination. These forms can even stand in opposition to the goals of classically cognitive analysis (aesthetic, emotional, funny, alienating dissolution).

All political-analytical media tend to develop according to their own criteria: Political science analyzes, for its part again differentiated according to sub-disciplines, politics in its typical forms; Journalists try to cultivate their special approaches and forms of representation of politics and artists develop their own art. Nevertheless, there are also relationships between the various political-analytical media. Public perception and journalistic, sometimes artistically entertaining analysis of politics stimulates scientific research. On the other hand, scientific analysis models are also spreading in public administration, practical politics and their journalistic perception. Exciting things can be discovered not only in individual political-analytical media, but also in the relationship between them.


The teaching and research program Policy analysis

In the teaching and research program Policy analysiscurrent political conflicts and challenges have their place. Because application-oriented policy analysis should contribute to better handling of concrete policies. Contributions to relevant political communication and specialized policy advice are quasi a litmus test of the fertility of scientific policy analysis.

Scientific policy analysis itself, however, is primarily about further developing scientific models and methods. A separate, new area of ​​policy analysis has journalistic and artistically entertaining formats of policy analysis (in the Internet, TV and print media, art and entertainment) as its content. Finally, relationships between different policy-analytical media and formats are of research interest.

This teaching and research program is broader than normal political science. Compared to general media research, however, it is characterized by the special analysis of policy-related forms of analysis.