Roundtable: Joint APPAM/Naspaa Session: Global Developments and New Foci of Policy Analysis Instruction
(Tools of Analysis: Methods, Data, Informatics and Empirical Design)

Thursday, November 6, 2014: 2:45 PM-4:15 PM
Fiesta 1 & 2 (Hyatt)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Organizers:  Iris Geva-May, Baruch College
Moderators:  Iris Geva-May, Baruch College
Speakers:  Claudia Scott, Victoria University, Wellington, Sandra Archibald, University of Washington, Angela Evans, University of Texas, Austin, David Birdsell, Baruch College and Michael O'Hare, University of California, Berkeley

We are proposing two inter-related consecutive Roundtables whose aim is to re-examine how policy analysis has morphed from its roots, and, in Roundtable Two, to consider (2) What are the implications of the shifts in the field of policy analysis for policy analysis instruction. It follows discussions and an interest of the audience in pursuing this topic further at a preliminary Roundtable at the Spring Conference, May 2014 which has started a serious dialogue that begs to be continued, refined, and deepened. Below are the foci: 1. While policy analysis is increasingly adopted as a distinct field of study in Europe, Asia, and north of the US in neighboring Canada -- in the US the pendulum seems to have swung, as pendulums always do, in the other direction: its boundaries have somewhat blurred at the seams between policy analysis versus social sciences research and evaluation. In our instruction, it may be worthwhile at this time to revisit Vining and Weimer’s 1989 and 2011, Weimer 2012 and Geva-May and Pal’s “Good fences make good neighbors” (1999) differentiating between the goals and means of these distinctive domains, and re-assert the policy analysis methods. 2. While many of the expectations of policy analysis from the past continue to exist, shifts have occurred as a result of a range of developments – technological, access to big data, networks, new governance and public policy making changes, and as Beryl Radin outlines (2012) in her Machiavelli at mid-age: “new expectations about accountability and transparency, economic and fiscal problems, and increased ideological and political conflicts.” How do we address these changes in our teaching by developing new methods and pedagogies? 3. While policy analysis is still required in its variations, the locus of the policy analyst has shifted from the central government and “speaking truth to power” (Wildavsky 1989) to work for various agencies. Further, what is expected is mainly expertise in a particular disciplinary niche of expertise, with no particular requirement for policy analytic skills identified in the past. These developments and shifts require that we reconsider our definition of the field, how we practice policy analysis (Roundtable 1) and how we teach it to our students. (This consecutive Roundtable 2).