The main objectives of this module are:
After completion of the course, students are able to
- describe the process of integrated policy analysis and its relation to policy-making
- understand associated research methods in the context of this process,
- employ methods of (a) problem structuring, (b) forecasting, (c) prescribing preferred policy outcomes (recommending), (d) monitoring, and (e) evaluation.
- assess whether research is useful for policy-making.
- write a well-structured, client-focussed and compelling policy memorandum, including an executive summary and a letter of transmittal.
As a student of Biomedical Sciences, you have learned to use a great variety of research methods. In the future, the results of your research might well have important consequences for policy. However, it is well-known that the interface between research and policy-making is far from seamless. Too often, the results of scientific research are not used at all. This is due at least in part to researchers lacking sufficient insight into the process of policy analysis. This course is aimed at correcting this deficit. It is important for all students who are interested in the interface between scientific research and policy-making, either as a researcher who cares about his or her results being used, or as someone who aspires to work in a policy-making environment. To bridge the gap between scientific research and policy-making, a researcher should learn to determine (a) what information is required in the policy-making process; (b) to what aim this information is required; and (c) which methods are suitable for obtaining this information. In view of this, this course draws on a theoretical framework provided by William N. Dunn in his Public policy analysis. As an introduction, this book is often used in policy science education, as it offers a transparent model of the process of policy analysis and its research methods. During the course, this theoretical framework is to be mastered. Students will study and employ quantitative, as well as qualitative research methods. Moreover, they will learn to report the results by way of a concise, client- focussed and compelling policy memorandum. This course is compulsory for students with a consultancy profile, and highly recommended for any other student interested in doing research for supporting policy making, e.g. in the context of health technology assessment.