Analysis of Governmental Policy

Course code:
Period 1
Language of tuition:
Fac. der Aard- en Levenswetenschappen
dr. O.E. Popa
dr. O.E. Popa
J.W. Schuijer
drs. ir. A. Fraaije
A.E. Bunders MSc
drs. ir. F. Vogels
Teaching method(s):
Lecture, Study Group, Computer lab

Course objective

- To acquire critical knowledge regarding different policy models and
- To master the correct use of central concepts in political and policy
- To create skills for the analysis of complex societal questions or
- To learn to integrate scientific expertise with laypersons'
- To practice data collection and analysis;
- To learn to set up valid lines of argumentation from data to policy
- To experience writing a policy advisory report;
- To improve communication skills during a group project;
- To improve skills in working effectively in a project team,
through team building, team analysis and feedback.

Course content

Governmental policy affects millions of people and is thus object of
intensive debate and target of strong societal forces, like political
parties, media and interest groups. Being an advisor or policy maker
requires a thorough understanding of the dynamics of policy making, as
well as from the psychologal side as from the more social structures
and their influence on a deliberative democracy.
The course contains several lectures on theoretical concepts and models
concerning policy analysis. Furthermore you will be challenged, under
supervision, to apply and practice these concepts and models in the
project assignment. From the very first day, you will be part of a
project team of about ten students. You are confronted with a real
policy problem from an external commissioning institution (e. g. a non-
governmental organization, a Ministry, an advisory council). Within
those 4 weeks you will collect data by literature review and interviews
and conduct an interdisciplinary analysis on the basis of which you
provide an advice. Specific attention is paid to working in a project
team and team building. At the end of the course, you prepare an
advisory report. On the last day of the course you present the report to
the representative of the external institution who commissioned the
project. In that presentation your team will highlight the main results
of your analysis and defend the recommendations you propose.

Form of tuition

Analysis of Governmental Policy is a parttime course of eight weeks (6
ECTS). Tuition methods include lectures, training workshops, and
self-study. Attendance to lectures and project meetings is compusory. In
our experience,
relying on self-study alone is insufficient to pass the exam.

Type of assessment

Written multiple-choice exam (30%)
Personal performance in group meetings (20%)
Group products (50%): report (25%), presentation (25%)
All have to be passed successfully for the student to pass the course

Course reading

Buse, K., Mays, N., & Walt, G. (2012). Making health policy. McGraw-Hill
Education (UK).

Recommended background knowledge

The project integrates the research design made and lessons learned from
the first compulsory MPA course: Research Methods for Analyzing Complex

Target audience

Compulsory course within the Masterprogramme Management, Policy
Analysis and Entrepreneurship for the health and life sciences (MPA)
and the Societal differentiation of Health, Life and Natural Sciences
Masters programmes.

Registration procedure

Additional information about the schedule for work groups is available
in Canvas.


The case is policy analysis and advice, but the exercised methods and
skills are equally applicable to strategic marketing advice or
evaluation studies. The teams will be coached by workgroup tutors.

© Copyright VU University Amsterdam
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