PH4010 Policy Analysis Assignment Detailed Instructions
For the policy analysis assignment, you will work to prepare a formal analysis on a health policy problem/issue, based on your expressed areas of interest. You are draft an evidence-based policy analysis and present your findings in a final policy analysis paper by the end of the semester. You should complete this assignment as if you are working for an agency or organization and your supervisor has given you the task of drafting this analysis.
Broadly, the analysis should describe the problem and stakeholders affected by the issue; analyze the existing policies and potential solutions; and make a recommendation for a potential course of action. Remember to consider legal, ethical, economic, and regulatory dimensions of the policy and incorporate these into your analysis. You are encouraged to use the policy journals and websites included in the course syllabus, as well as information from relevant stakeholder organizations. Several policy brief examples will be provided on iCollege.
I am happy to meet with you to talk through your analysis, help identify resources, and provide guidance, if needed, at any stage in the process.
• Step 1: Draft your problem statement.
• Step 2: Identify at least 4 peer reviewed sources and 4 or more additional professional sources. Research your health policy problem using these sources. Based on your findings, draft a bulleted outline of your policy analysis to include your 1) Problem statement; 2) Background (evidence); 3) Landscape (context); 4) Policy alternatives analysis; and 5) Recommendation (May not be fully worked out at this stage.
• Step 3: Submit your final policy analysis, which must be 4-6 double-spaced pages in length (+ title page + references). As always, you must cite sources appropriately using APA style to avoid plagiarism.
I. Problem Statement – clearly defines the problem being addressed in the analysis and identifies the audience for your analysis/presentation
a. Should be no more than three to four sentences in length.
b. Should be as narrowly defined as possible.
c. May be phrased neutrally or in a manner that reflects the values of your “audience.”
d. Should lead to the consideration of several policy options.
e. Problem statement should not include the proposed solution.
II. Background – informs the reader why this is a problem that must be addressed now.
a. Research the literature to find information about the problem. Usually one or two broad articles can help. Also, use the citations and bibliographies in these articles to look for other article to inform your background section
b. The background should provide facts and information necessary for your audience to understand the problem.
c. Why is it important? Explain.
i. Include epidemiologic data—incidence and prevalence
ii. How does this issue impact health outcomes?
iii. What are the costs?
iv. Are specific demographic or population groups disproportionately affected? If so, what are the implications for health disparities and health equity?
III. Landscape – provides the context of the problem-with regard to stakeholders on different sides of the issue, as well as political, social, and economic considerations.
a. Who are key stakeholders affected by the problem and/or who would be impacted by the different policy options (there are generally winners and losers)?
b. Stakeholder section can be written before, during, and after the policy options section. Feel free to edit as needed based on the final policy options included in your analysis. The choice of relevant stakeholders is directly related to how broad or narrow the policy statement is.
c. What issues are most important to each stakeholder group?
d. Also include an analysis of contextual aspects of the problem, including (as appropriate) 1) political, 2) social, 3) economic, 4) practical, 5) legal factors; or 6) quality of care factors and how these factors relate to your stakeholders.
IV. Policy Alternatives – includes two to four options for the audience to consider that are within their power/jurisdiction, consistent with their values, and address the issue in the problem statement. Your assignment requires consideration of at least two options.
a. Identify policy options in the peer-reviewed literature and on health policy websites. These options may include programs or solutions already being tried by other agencies, organizations or in different parts of the country. You can come up with an innovative solution, but you don’t have to invent one.
b. Get a broad idea of what possible options there are (taxes, subsidies, laws, regulations, programs, government organizations, information, incentives, workforce development, etc.)
c. Then to narrow down your options consider:
i. Are options within the power of the identified audience to enact? If not, find new options.
ii. Are options consistent with the audience’s values? If not, find new options.
iii. Do the options adequately address the issue identified in the problem statement? If not, find new options.
d. This section also should include criteria that will be used to evaluate the option.
i. Criteria for evaluating your options can include: cost; cost-benefit; political feasibility; legality; administrative ease; fairness; timeliness; targeted impact; effectiveness; health-care specific criteria (see Bardach, step 4)
ii. Explain the criteria you plan to use before you list and explore your policy options.
e. Once you have chosen your options and explained your decision-making criteria, devote at least one paragraph to describing each option.
i. In the first one or two sentences, explain the option clearly.
ii. Follow up with the pros and cons for each option based on your criteria
iii. You can also examine differences in your policy options using a side-by-side table; you are allowed to use a table, but should also accompany it with text in your analysis to fully explain the options.
V. Recommendations – choose one option to be the recommended course of action
a. Avoid recommending more than option or recommending a hybrid approach
b. Discuss why the chosen option is better than the others despite any challenges associated with it.
c. Identify any actions that could be taken to overcome the challenges associated with this option