Elements of Policy Analysis

Skills bootcamp and workshop series. Auditors welcome.

This one-credit course is designed to support students undertaking public policy analysis projects in the Policy Lab and in other policy-based courses. The course will help students gain facility with basic policy methods and approaches common to Policy Lab practicums. The core session of the course consists of three hours of classroom instruction on a Saturday morning (the Saturday at the end of the first week of classes) with emphasis on thinking like a policy analyst (as distinguished from an advocate or lawyer), scoping policy problems, promoting and assessing evidence quality, and making valid (and avoiding invalid) inferences. The afternoon session offers three hours of instruction focused on designing and evaluating programs to improve individuals’ lives (for example programs aimed at reducing homelessness or opioid addiction).

Then, during the early part of the term, students may choose at least two topics from among a series of short workshops including:

(1) Design Thinking for Law and Policy led by the Legal Design Lab

(2) Library Research Workshop: Policy Research Tools and Strategies

(4) Visualizing Data, with Amy Shoemaker, Computational Policy Lab

(5) Policy Writing: Short Memos and Briefing Papers

(6) Ethnographic Interviewing Skills for Public Policy

With guidance from their faculty instructors, students may then draw on the skills developed in this introductory seminar to analyze a public policy problem, develop potential strategies to address it, weigh the pros and cons of strategy options, and produce a final product that may offer options or recommendations to a policy client, suggestions for implementing such recommendations, and techniques to assess the effectiveness of implementation.

Elements used in grading: Attendance, Class Participation.

Law 7846 – Section 01 (Class # 32443)

Lead Instructor:  Robert J. MacCoun

Units: 1

Grading: Law Mandatory P/R/F

See course details
Consent of Instructor Form


Bootcamp and Workshops

Day-long Bootcamp: An Overview of Policy Analysis Methods

Saturday, 1/12, SLS Crown 280-8 / 8AM - 2PM

Design Thinking for Law and Policy

Friday, 1/25, 3 -5

Interviewing Skills for Public Policy

Wednesday, 1/30, 12:45 - 2

Library Research Skills for Public Policy

Thursday, 1/31, 12:45 - 2

Writing White Papers and Policy Briefs

Friday, 2/1, 12:45 - 2

Data, Algorithms, and the Law

Tuesday, 2/12, 12:45 - 2