Introduction to policy analysis


What is policy? How can we understand policy making in the European Union? How is (European) policy made? There is no better way to begin answering these questions than through a hands-on study of a good example of policy making. Through the analysis of the concrete problems involved in a policy field (such as fisheries policy), we will discover some of the principal processes involved in policy making. These involve debates between policy actors over what constitutes ¿the¿ problem, over how bad the problem really is, or over what should be done about it, or what are appropriate governance structures, but also how past policies have been made and what new policy instruments are being considered.

At the same time, you will learn how to analyse policy problems and writes reports to policy makers. You will analyse policy problems and attempt to find solutions that are both practicable and politically viable. You will assess a series of policy options through multi-criteria analysis, while at the same time learning to appreciate some limitations of such a rationalist approach to policy making. All of this will occur through the systematic analysis of a prominent policy field for EU policy making.


Policy analysis:

  • Learn about the processes involved in policy making, such as agenda setting or the power of problem definitions.
  • Get a feel for the complex interplay of experts, stakeholders, governments, and the European institutions.
  • Appreciate the contrast between seemingly rational and well-designed regulatory projects and the problems of implementation, conflict, and practical problems on which these projects run aground.
  • Appreciate the ramifications of EU policy issues, to national policies, culture and daily life.


  • team work: manage meetings and cooperation
  • learn to gather and manage information
  • present your work
  • argue and debate your case
  • write a report

Contact: Dr. H.G. Ordóñez Matamoros