Hello there….Today, I have sat down and thought again and again on how to bridge the gap [for policy analysts] between what they know and entrepreneurship….Suddenly, an idea came to my mind….I jumped to my keyword search tool “Jaaxy” (I use it to monitor my audience behaviour and what they seek online) and found that many people are searching key words like “What’s Policy Analysis?” or “What is a policy problem?”
Folks…that’s a good news for you…You can write website/blog posts and about policy (Click and see settings and monetization techniques here).
The post below is helpful for both researchers/students/teachers in policy related fields.
Most especially, it serves as didactic material/content for those who would like to have ideas on how to bridge the gap between their expertise/experience and making money from it. The post is scientifically fully documented and realistic. Enjoy reading
I. Introduction and Background
1.1. What’s Policy?
Policy is the series of guidelines and principles that become the outline and basis of the plan in the execution of a leadership work, and a way of acting (for an organization, or government); statements of goals, objectives, principles, or intent as guidelines for management in order to achieve a specific goal. (If you like click and see related posts here or here)
Government policy Analysis, is the use of various research methods and arguments to generate and transfer information relevant to the policy so that it can be utilized in political level in order to solve policy problems (Dunn, 1988).
In general, the purpose of a country policy analysis is to provide information for policy-taking which is used as a practical policy troubleshooting guideline. The objectives of policy analysis also include policy evaluation and policy recommendation (Dunn, 1988).
Policy Analysis examines the ongoing policies, while the development of policies provides guidance for the creation or formulation of new policies. Based these experts ‘ opinion and long experience (Dunn’s, 1988; Moekijat’s, 1995; Wahab’s, 1991), the following are forms of policy analysis commonly used:
- – the prospective policy analysis;
- – the retrospective Policy Analysis (RPA);
- – and the Integrated policy analysis.
In its effort to generate information and arguments, policy analysis can use several approaches namely empirical, evaluative, and normative Approaches (Dunn, 1988).
1.2. Policy Analysis: Wrong Problem Formulation
One part of policy analysis that lacks attention during these days however crucial it seems is the “formulation of policy problem”. Policy analysis often fails because of resolving incorrect problems compared to failing because they found an incorrect solution against the correct problem. Cause of rising a wrong policy problem can be due to:
- its subjectivity;
- or the interests of analysts or policy makers is very prominent
However, incorrect solutions to a real and good/correct policy problem is caused by;
- the complexity of the problem itself;
- or the ability of policy makers (or both)
In this discussion, I will focus on the definition of public policy problem, the nature of public problems, the types of public problems, data and information, and the steps to formulate public policies problems, and methods of formulating public problems.
1.3. Questions this article seeks to answer
To be problem solving-oriented, these questions will be answered in this website post:
- What are the limitations of public problems?
- What are the properties of public problems?
- How important is data in the formulation of problems?
- What are the phases of public problem formulation?
- And how is the method of formulating public problems?
- To find out the limitations of policy problem.
- To know and understand the properties of public problems.
- To find out the types of public problems.
- To know the importance of data in the formulation of public issues.
- To know the phases of policy problem formulation.
- To find out the policy problem formulation method.
2.1. Delimiting Public Policy Problem
A problem is said to be a private problem if the problem can be resolved without affecting the other person (Jones, 1991:71) or without involving the government. For example, when a poor people in the city are struggling to buy rice because of the price that continues to soar, it is actually a personal matter. But when some people experience the same fate start organizing and claim to the government in order to bring down the price of rice, then we see that the problem of rice price increase shifts from personal problems to Public problems. A problem becomes a public one when it is perceived as “a difficulty shared by a group of people and can only be resolved through government intervention”.
Therefore, public problems can be understood as having not fulfilled the need, value or opportunity desired by the public, and its fulfilment is possible only through government policy.
2.2. Nature of public problems
Formulating a right and proper policy problem is not easy because of the very complex nature of public problems. The following are outlined characteristics of public problems (Dunn, 1994:140-141):
2.2.1. Interdependence between various problems
A public problem is not a stand-alone problem, but intertwined between one problem and others. For example, the unemployment problem relates to criminality or poverty problems and so on. Systems of interdependent problems require policy analysis to use a holistic approach in solving those problems by addressinging the root of the problem.
2.2.2. Subjectivity of policy issues
Policy issues are the result of thought in a particular environmental context. Therefore, a phenomenon that is considered a problem in a particular environment, may not be a problem for other another section of a people. For example, families in the village feel that there are no problems related to the household, but the families in the city look at the garbage is the main problem that needs to be solved.
2.2.3. Artificiality problems
A phenomenon is considered a problem because of human desire to change something. Low per capita income is a problem because governments are eager to share the welfare of society.
2.2.4. Dynamics of policy issues
The solution to the problem is always changing. The same problem could not necessarily be solved with the same policy if the environment context is different. Likewise, the same problem cannot necessarily be solved with the same policy if the time is different. The choice of development paradigm that is oriented to economic growth, for example, is considered appropriate to solve the problems of the nation, such as poverty in a given country at a given period, but probably less appropriate to be used as a development model now. Because the social environment context might be much different. The Model of development that emphasizes respect for human rights and democracy is based more precisely on the current economic growth.
2.3. Types of public problems
There are several typologies for a public concern (Dunn, 1994:146). Reviewed from its complexity, it can be categorized into three:
- A well-structured problem is an issue where the resolution involves only a handful of policymakers, with limited troubleshooting alternatives, the value of the problem solving is approved, and the results are more ascertained by probability levels That can be taken into account.
- The somewhat structured problem is the issue by which the resolution involves several of policymakers, alternatives to limited resolution, the value to be pursued is approved, but the outcome is uncertain with a probability level that is difficult to calculate.
- Unstructured problems are the problem that the resolution of many policymakers, the alternative resolution is not limited, the value to be pursued still poses conflict and the end result is very difficult to know for sure because Probability level is very difficult to calculate.
Of the three problems above, the hardest to solve is the problem that belongs to the type of “structured”. This issue demands a deep understanding of policy analysts. Moreover, in the practice of many public problems are ill structure, so demanding policy makers develop policy alternatives and make appropriate policy choices.
2.4. Importance of data in the formulation of problems
In a problem-formulation activity, policy analysts desperately need data and information to be able to formulate the problem appropriately and correctly. Such Data and information can be time series or cross sectional (between different locations). Time series data is very helpful to understand the changes in symptoms from time to time, the number of criminality data in Indonesia over the last ten years. Cross sectional data can help give an overview of the symptoms between different locations. If the formulation of the problem is without supported data and information, and only based on assumptions, it could cause the analysis to formulate the problem incorrectly. Analysts can use data and information from:
- Secondary Data such as annual report, termly or monthly, information from newspapers, journals, bulletin and other statistical Data
- Primary Data such as data from pre-surveys and interview results.
However, analysts often face some of the constraints related to such data and information, among others are:
- Less availability of new data and information (up to date). In practice, it is not easy to find new data on government agencies.
- Low data quality and information due to low competence of data collection officers and data processors and the occurrence of reporting bias for certain reasons.
- The data management system is not yet standardized, which concerns the classification, presentation, regularity of the processing and the size used. For example, the size/amplitude and classification of poverty between other institutions and other institutions may differ.
2.5.Stages of formulation of public problems
The formulation can be seen as a process consisting of four phases:
- Problem search
- Defining the Problem (problem definition)
- Problem specification
- Problem sensing
The formulation of the problem begins with a problem situation, namely a series of situations that create a sense of dissatisfaction and feeling there is something wrong among people, in the society, etc. Then the analysts involved in the search for problems. They often stumble over the so-called “meta problem”, i.e. a problem that has not been laid out neatly. From a meta issue, analysts doing a problem definition, in most common and fundamental terms, address/determine whether the problem belongs to a social, political, economic issue, and will subsequently be born substantive issues of delineating that problem that has been specifically formulated and defined.
For policymakers to be able to formulate the problem correctly and appropriately, Patton and Sawicki (1987:107) propose seven phases in formulating the following problems:
- Think about why a symptom is considered a problem
- Set a limit to the problem you want to solve
- Collection of facts and information related to the problem set
- Formula of objectives and objectives to be achieved
- Identification policy envelope (variables affecting the problem)
- Show the cost and the of the problem to be addressed.
- Formulate a policy problem properly.
2.6. Method of formulating problems
The method of formulating a problem is a method for recognizing, defining and formulating it so that such a problem can be well understood. There are several methods for formulating policy problems as outlined below:
- Analysis of limits, namely the effort to map the problem through snowball sampling from stakeholders. This is because policy analysis is often restricted to problems that are unclear and complicated, so it is necessary to ask stakeholders for assistance to provide information related to the problem concerned.
- Classification analysis, which classifies issues into certain categories in order to facilitate analysis.
- Analysis of hierarchy, the method of drafting problems based on the possible causes of the problem situation.
- Brainstorming, a method to formulate problems through brainstorming from people who know the conditions.
- Analysis of double perspective, that is, a method of gaining a varied view from a different perspective on a problem and its resolution, the study of the perspective of public administration, political perspectives and economic perspectives
III. Wrapping Up
“What’s Policy Analysis?” or “What is a policy problem?” has been post some sort of inspiring policy both researchers/students/teachers in policy related fields on how to bridge the gap between their expertise/experience and making money from it working from home or working at home!”
Most especially, it serves as didactic material/content for those who would like to have ideas on how to bridge the gap between their fields of specialization/likes/experience/skills and making money from it working from home. The post is scientifically fully documented and realistic to help researchers too.
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