Policy analysis provides informed advice to a client that relates to a public policy decision, includes a recommended course of action/inaction, and is framed by the client’s powers and values. Following is the structure of the policy analysis

TOPIC IS OBESITY

Description and Instructions: Policy analysis provides informed advice to a client that relates to a public policy decision, includes a recommended course of action/inaction, and is framed by the client’s powers and values. Following is the structure of the policy analysis:

  1. Problem Statement: It defines the problem being addressed in the analysis. How a problem is framed is one of the most important steps in a policy analysis. Problem statement:
    • Should be 1-2 sentences, usually in the form of a question
    • May be broad or narrow
    • May be neutral or value-laden
    • Must lead to the possibility of several options
    • Should not include recommendation in problem statement
  2. Background: The background informs the reader why a problem has been chosen for analysis.
    • This section must be build based on an extensive literature review and peer-reviewed research
    • Provides much of the facts and information necessary to understand the problem being addressed.
    • Please cite your statistics, figures, make sure do not use complicated statistical language. For example, instead of using 0.67 say ‘two third’ to facilitate reading for non-public health professionals.
    • May have to tailor some background information based on the knowledge base of the client
    • However, much of the information provided in the background is necessary regardless of client
  3. Landscape:The landscape provides the overall context of the analysis by identifying key stakeholders interested in the problem and the issues that must be considered when analyzing the problem.Which stakeholders must be included depends on the issue at hand and the phrasing of the problem statement. Some examples of the aspects of a problem that a policy analyst may consider include:
    • Political factors
    • Social factors
    • Economic factors
    • Legal factors
    • Practical factors
  4. Options Analysis:The policy analysis should provide 3–5 options for a client to consider.
    • All options must be:
      • within the power of the client to do
      • consistent with the client’s values
      • addressing the issue identified in the problem statement
    • Assess the pros and cons of each option
    • Options should be sufficiently different from each other to give the client a real choice
    • Select and apply criteria to all options for feasibility
    • Identify pros and cons for each option
    • There is no perfect option
    • May use a side-by-side table to assist in analyzing the options
    • Descriptive or analytical tables may be appropriate
  5. Recommendations
    • Choose one of the options as the recommended course of action for the client
    • Status quo/inaction may be an option
    • Discuss why this option is better than the others despite the cons associated with the option
    • Identify any action that may be taken to ameliorate the cons associated with the option
    • In almost all cases do not choose a hybrid option that mixes two or more of your options
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