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British Council Researcher Links Public Policy Workshop
Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan, 2-5 February 2015
The workshop will introduce researchers from the UK and Kazakhstan to a new analytical
framework which approaches governance and policymaking as a challenge of learning. The
analytical framework does not just offer a conceptual way to categorise policy and political
action. Researchers will learn how to use the approach to generate new policy design and ideas
for reform or alternative courses of action. This will be achieved in the workshop using empirical
case studies from the UK, EU, Kazakhstan and China that categorise learning and evaluate what
they reveal about the policy capacity enjoyed by government. Specifically, we are interested in
asking: how functional is the policy learning? There is a difference between learning to become
more efficient in producing solutions that are wrong or not legitimate, and learning to generate
socially robust leadership. Is the learning found in our individual cases appropriate given the
stated policy intentions? If it is not, what can be done in terms of governments’ and international
organisations’ capacity in order to change the learning type? Are there particular analytical,
administrative or communicative deficits that need to be recognised and filled?
Another contribution to researchers’ skills is methodological. Varieties of policy learning are
amenable to a number of research techniques – one can explore learning and design policy using
process tracing, narrative analysis, experiments, statistical analysis of public opinion data,
political theory and the comparative method in public policy. In the workshop, we will focus on
one of the most novel and least well-known methods – narrative analysis. Researchers will be
introduced to the Narrative Policy Framework, and how it can be used to code face-to-face
interviews and policy documents to uncover different narratives of policy learning.
The workshop speaks directly to an analytical focus on economic performance and sustainable
growth and specifically improving performance and productivity of the public sector. The
learning framework and methods outlined in the workshop offer ways to demonstrate the utility
of original theoretical analysis to policy design. Using case studies from different political
systems further emphasises the transferability of these policy concepts.
We look forward to meeting you in Kazakhstan!
Professor Neil Collins (Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan)
Dr Claire A. Dunlop (University of Exeter, UK)
Professor Claudio M. Radaelli (University of Exeter, UK)