(20) Magic element: POLICY.

“The Story of the Magic 3 and the Earth” is prepared to introduce you to more types of Researchers, because Researchers are not only in academic circles (namely, the university). There are so many Researchers in business or in all sorts of organisations (e.g. lobbying organisations, think tanks, international aid organisations) and in all sorts of fields (e.g. electricity, food industry). *They are all coming from the university benches, but let us come back to this topic another time. So, we are many and we are different, read further to get to know us better 🙂

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The story is about the importance of cooperation between policy-academia-business and the overall society when a change needs to take place in society, in a certain area of life. To better remember each party, I associate an element of nature to each of them (just like in “Sailor Moon” 🙂 ). In this post, I will briefly remind/introduce you to the Magic element, called: Policy. 

Figure 1. Public policy cycle (how a policy ideally works in practice).

policylifecycle

So, this is how it approximately and usually works. It can go in many directions and some stages can be skipped by policy makers, but these are roughly the phases through which a policy goes through: first, there is a problem in a certain area of life: for example, no energy supply for an area of a city due to the lack of funding.

The inhabitants of that district will then write complains to human rights organisations or other parties to solve this problem (or one or more organisations will notice and the initiative will come from them). Those organisation discuss further with the authorities in charge of electricity supply, who then discuss with specialized authorities who decide to provide with funding for buying all the electricity supplies. It is then when the problem arrives on the agenda of policy makers (authorities in charge).

If approved to be important enough, the policy is then developed step-by-step from who, when, what, when the electricity in that area is going to be installed. After which, it is then decided who and when will actually do the work (implementation). After the district has been provided with electricity, the policy is evaluated to see how good or bad what was decided by authorities was applied in practice. Now, let us have a look at the following Researcher involved in policy Research to better understand what one might do in this area:

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photo credit: http://www.manorlux.com

 

Olga J. Skriabikova-Coenen, works for local public authorities in the Netherlands. She is Researcher at the Regional government of Limburg, South of the Netherlands [doctorate graduate 2014 at Maastricht University]: “I have a PhD in Economics and since two years I work at Limburg regional government. In my role as Strategy research and evaluation advisor I provide critical reflection on proposed research questions, methods and design. The main difference between fundamental research and policy-oriented, or in other terms, applied research is that policy research should ideally provide directly applicable results which can be used to address urgent policy matters. Formulating research questions in such a way that policy-makers receive information that they can use is therefore crucial. Another issue related to applicability is timeliness, since policy-makers need to be able to react quickly and cannot afford waiting for a year or more to plan a policy action. The other side of the coin is that policy research cannot provide the depth, precision and generality of conclusions of fundamental research. Nonetheless, high quality policy research is crucial for adequate planning, design, implementation and evaluation of policies.”

In my story, Policy is associated with water, because hypothetically speaking, it touches upon all areas of public life and unlike fire (business), it might take a lot of time until it is going to be implemented (since it can involve a lot of bureaucracy, for e.g., approval from many authorities).

With love for Research,

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3 thoughts on “(20) Magic element: POLICY.

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