Page 1 of 1

Module Code - Title:


Year Last Offered:


Hours Per Week:













Grading Type:


Prerequisite Modules:


Rationale and Purpose of the Module:

Aims : This course aims to provide students with an overview of the theory and practice of policy analysis. The process of public policy making in the modern democratic state will be explored with particular reference to the socio-political environment of policy making and organisationally based decision processes within public administration. Objectives : - To build an understanding of what policy is, nature of policy problems and the role of problem definition in structuring policy - To focus on theories of the public policy process and explore the variety and complexity of decision making processes - To identify a classification of approaches to the analysis of public policy - To investigate and understand how information about public policies is made available and is accountability for outcomes clear - To evaluate the policy process in government and public bureaucracies through the analysis of case study material - To promote career development skills


What is public policy?; stages approach to the policy process; power approaches - elitism, pluralism, corporatism; agenda setting; models of decision making รป Simon, Lindblom, Allison, Etzioni, Dror; institutional approaches; rational choice theory; policy networks; policy transfer; policy implementation; evaluation, accountability; Europeanisation

Learning Outcomes:

Cognitive (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Evaluation, Synthesis)

Describe the principal models and theories applied in the study of public policy Demonstrate a critical awareness of theory and alternative approaches to conceptualising the policy process Determine the role of policy actors, institutions and processes in substantive policy areas Evaluate a salient policy issue in Irish public administration through the application of theoretical perspectives and case study analysis Construct reasoned argument, synthesise information and exercise critical judgement

Affective (Attitudes and Values)

Differentiate between the beliefs and values that distinguish the public policy process

Psychomotor (Physical Skills)

Prepare a framework for future learning from work experience through reflection of the cooperative education placement Build on communication skills through active participation in tutorial group exercises

How the Module will be Taught and what will be the Learning Experiences of the Students:

A variety of learning styles and skills are catered for in this module. Students will be taught through a programme of lectures and tutorials (with specific tasks and activities). SULIS will be used as a medium to promote and facilitate learning and assessment. The module is designed such that students undertake specific tutorial exercises in groups, individual written assessment (including a case study) and continuance of career development skills programme.

Research Findings Incorporated in to the Syllabus (If Relevant):

Prime Texts:

Howlett, M. and Ramesh, M. (eds.) (2003) Studying Public Policy: Policy Cycles and Policy Subsystems (second edition) , Oxford University Press
Hill, M. (2005) The Policy Process in the Modern State (fourth edition) , Pearson Longman

Other Relevant Texts:

John, P. (1998) Analysing Public Policy , Continuum
Parsons, W. (1995) Public Policy: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis , Edward Elgar
Peters, B.G. and Pierre, J. (eds.) (2005) Handbook of Public Policy , Sage

Programme(s) in which this Module is Offered:

Semester - Year to be First Offered:


Module Leader: