Policy Analysis and Statesmanship – PLCY 805

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 09/05/2023

Course Description

This course introduces students to various models of public policy analysis and evaluation as a foundation to developing a viable public policy research project.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Public policy and public policy recommendations are often derived from or constructed upon social science research. Not only does this course prepare the doctoral-level student to conduct his/her own robust research, but it equips the student with the toolkit needed for the full evaluation of research used as justification for particular policies.

Course Assignment

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (5)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to write a response thread to the prompt for each forum. Each thread must consist of at least 500 words and demonstrate mastery of course content. For each thread, the student must ground his/her responses and lines of argumentation in the course readings with at least three (3) scholarly, peer-reviewed citations in current Turabian format. In addition to this initial thread, the student must reply to two (2) of the threads authored by his or her colleagues. Each reply must consist of at least 300 words. Replies should be rooted in course readings and content and incorporate at least three (3) scholarly citations from the Learn items used during the assigned Module: Week cited in current Turabian format. Additional, reputable academic titles and articles may be invoked to answer prompts (especially those in recommended reading list).

Each doctoral student will complete one (1) video presentation at the conclusion of this course. The student will post one video of approximately 10 minutes in length. The student must then post two (2) replies to colleague video posts of at least 150 words each. Video presentations must cover each and every major component of the student’s full research design proposal.

Literature Review Assignment

The doctoral student must produce a literature review of 14-16 pages based upon his or her dependent variable/research question from Week Two and Week Four. The literature review must focus on prominent, previous work and illustrate how a literature review informs the development of a theoretically significant research question. The student must provide his or her reader with a strong sense of the state of the established literature in the chosen sub-field and must identify areas where he or she can make a substantial contribution to existing theory and scholarly discourse. The literature review should make use of current Turabian formatting and incorporate citations from at least twenty-five (25) sources. Acceptable sources include peer-reviewed journal articles, books from academic presses, and/or policy research papers published by reputable think tanks.

Research Design Comparison Assignment

The student will identify and write a comparative analysis and critique of two prominent, peer-reviewed research articles, each of which focuses on the same general research question/dependent variable. The paper must be at least 7 pages.

The bulk of the paper should focus on examining major research design choices and explaining whether or not the scholar(s) make the correct research design decision(s), and why. The format of the paper should be as follows: 

  • Identify and briefly describe the scope of the two research projects.
  • Identify the research question.
  • In one sentence, describe the dependent variable.
  • Evaluate how well the scholar(s) define and operationalize their dependent variables(s) and how weel they operationalize other major concepts in their study.
  • Discuss the study's overall research design structure.
  • Briefly discuss research findings.
  • Describe the strengths and weakness of the overall research design.
  • Offer concrete suggestions for improvement to the research design.
  • Conclude with a brief, comparative analysis on the overall quality and appropriateness of each research design.

This paper will use the following format: Times New Roman, 12-point font, 1" margins, double spaced, numbered pages, title page, and current Turabian formatting.

Mock Research Proposal Assignment

The doctoral student will write an abbreviated, 15+ page practice proposal based upon the research question/dependent variable (DV) selected for the Discussion in Module 3: Week 3. The primary focus of practice proposal is the selection of a research design appropriate for the study of particular dependent variable. The proposal can build out of the literature review constructed in previous writing assignment.

After providing a concise description of his or her dependent variable on page one of proposal, the student should spend significant space describing the conceptualization of his or her DV. The student must also provide a clearly specified research question. The focus should then shift to explaining why the chosen research design is appropriate for the study of the particular DV.  Strong proposals will address measurement issues, provide examples of observable implications, and explain/justify case selection. This paper must include at least 20 references in addition to the course readings and must demonstrate integration of biblical principles.