Final Exam Study Guide POL 669 Public Policy Analysis Spring

Final Exam Study Guide
POL 669 Public Policy Analysis
Spring 2012
Dr. Kevin Parsneau
The exam will be open book and note, and you will have four hours from when you initially read the exam to
when you must quit writing. You may also take an additional hour to proofread and edit your answers.
The test consists of three sets of questions. The first two sets will each be four short-answer questions from
the course lectures and readings, from which you will select two to answer worth 10 points each. The best
answers to these questions should be roughly one long paragraph or between 150 and 250 words. The third
set will consist of a set of four questions similar to those listed below, from which you will answer two worth
30 points each. The best answers will be between 3 and 5 pages (750-1250 words).
The best strategy to prepare for the exam is to organize your notes and familiarize yourself with them. You
should be able to find relevant materials from the readings and notes in a short amount of time so that you do
not waste time looking up information. Then, consider the long-essay questions and write outlines to those
you would prefer to answer. Remember, if you outline answers to three of the questions, then you will be
sure to have at least one of your outlined answers asked.
Grades will be based upon your ability to summarize the important points from the course texts and
supplemental readings, to integrate materials from different sources and to provide relevant examples when
necessary. These questions can all be answered in different ways with references to different readings, and
you will probably not have the time to include everything you could write about the question, so make
careful choices and make the most important points in addressing each question.
1. Be able to interpret a Ordinary Least Squares Regression output so that you can offer analytical
commentary based upon a hypothetical set of results and questions about those results.
2. This course covers conventional methods of analysis as well as articles about often overlooked
considerations for analysts. Choose three supplemental readings (other than Gupta and Pollock), and discuss
the important additional considerations they address as well as how they address them. The best answers will
discuss the articles in the context of Gupta or Pollock).
3. Identify the import factors in determining which issues attract attention and are acted upon. How should
these factors influence public administrators when they generate courses of action or choose among courses
of action?
4. Describe the different influences upon how problems become matters of analytical concern and public
policy. What are the different steps/ phases of the process, which actors are most important at each phase
and how do the different phases affect the job of the policy analyst?
5. What are the important differences and similarities between applying effectiveness criteria, such as costbenefit and cost-effectiveness analysis, compared to other evaluative criteria? What are the other
alternatives? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different evaluative criteria?
6. Discuss the common assumptions of linearity and normal distribution in data analysis. How might they
mislead analysts and what should be done about them? Explain with reference to the course readings.
7. What are the most important sources of error and bias in data? What must analysts consider when using
pre-existing databases? What must they consider when using survey research