Instructions How to Write

Policy Analysis Paper

A Policy Analysis is a thesis that provides an in-depth analysis of a major city, state, or federal policy affecting human service clients. It utilizes primary and secondary data to answer questions about the policy provided by a specific policy framework chosen by the researcher.

For more details, review instructions for conducting a policy analysis in chapter two, of American Social Welfare Policy by Karger and Stoesz or chapter three of Unraveling Social Policy by David Gill. The following is an outline of a policy analysis:
Part One:
Statement of a problem or issue: What is the policy to be analyzed? Is it a city, state, federal, or transnational agreement? Who signed it into place and when? Has it been reauthorized? What are the issues underlying the policy? What is the human services resonance with regard to this policy? Who does it help? Who does it hurt?
Part Two:
Review of the literature includes: historical treatment of the issues leading up to the policy enactment (including social values and social movements). What is the history of the perceived social problem or issue? What are the problems suffered by those affected by the social problem? Why was the policy enacted? What were the social forces impacting the political decision to pass the policy? (e.g. Social Security Wage and Great Depression). Look at other relevant literature analyzing or measuring the effects of the policy. Finally, provide a legislative overview of the policy (including political factors and incremental evolution that brought us to where the policy is today.)
Who supported it and opposed it and why?
Part Three:
Policy analysis specifics (what it does, who it affects, consequences, and all the other questions Karger and Stoesz or Gil surveys in their frameworks.).
- Identify the supporters and opponents of the law and competing values behind their arguments. Explore the social and economic costs at the center of the policy debate.
- Explore the interests and implications for the operating and outcomes of the policies.
- Explore the effects of the law, the goal compared with the messy realities of implementation. Answer the question: did the law result in the intended or unintended effect. Why or why not?
- Explore the development of alternative social policies. What were their goals and affects? Did they have a similar or differing outcome? Why or why not?
Part Four:
Discussion and Conclusions. Summarize the evolution of the policy. What can you conclude from all this? What changes need to be made? This is your opportunity to express what you think about the policy. What are the implications for health and human services advocacy, education, and practice? What are the limitations and implications for further research? Summarize the strengths and weaknesses of the policy and its impact on human service clients, especially oppressed groups. Future research could include suggestions on how the policy could be evaluated.
Part Five:
Provide a list of all references, including at least three peer review articles, used in your research in APA style.

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