URBS 4/511 Urban Policy & Strategic Analysis

Framework for Policy Analysis

“Policy” is a decision for action that responds to a (public) problem.  Public problems are almost always complex, and usually are “wicked” (in that there is no single “best” solution—or even agreement on what would be a solution).  There are 6 steps in the process of analyzing a policy:


  1. Problem Definition:  Verify, define, and detail the dimensions of the problem. 
  2. Criteria:  Establish criteria by which you (plural) will agree that a solution has been achieved.
  3. Alternatives:  Identify alternative courses of action (policies)
  4. Analysis:  Evaluate alternative policies against established criteria
  5. Selection:  Display & distinguish among alternative policy solutions
  6. Implementation:  Monitor the implementation, both for process (is policy being correctly pursued) and outcomes (did policy achieve desired objectives)


Cf. Carl Patton & David Sawicki (1993)  Basic Methods of Policy Analysis and Planning, 2nd Ed.  Englewood Cliffs NJ:  Prentice-Hall.


© 2009 A.J.Filipovitch
Revised 17 May 2009