Graduate Certificate

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Course Information
Theory, Analysis, and Research

Course Description
Policy research and analysis are key components in each stage of the policy cycle (agenda setting, policy formulation, policy adoption, policy implementation, policy evaluation, policy termination and policy change). Theory takes a prominent role in this course, as it provides the lens through which to understand the central questions, logics, and values that underpin how policy is understood and supported by analysts and researchers. Throughout the course, theories and policy tools will be applied to real-world examples, providing concrete opportunities to examine different, sometimes competing, analytic approaches and the contexts in which they are applied. To anchor our ability to compare/contrast theories and approaches, we will use a simplified policy analysis framework throughout the course to guide class discussions and to organize ideas (see course assignments for additional detail). The framework may ultimately also be useful for you to develop and refine your own, personalized situatedness in the broad field of policy analysis. This framework is guided by six key questions: 1. What is the problem that begs for a solution? What are the underlying assumptions behind this problem? 2. What indicators demonstrate the problem exists? 3. What is the rationale for government/policy intervention to address the problem? 4. Who are the key stakeholders related to the problem and the solution? 5. Who are the primary opponents to solving the problem this way? What alternative rationales/solutions might they recommend? 6. What evidence or measures of success would “prove” that the problem has been affected in the way the policy designers planned?

Irma Arteaga
Office: 573-882-6227

Campus Coordinator

For course access questions, contact the teaching university’s campus coordinator. For enrollment questions, contact your home university campus coordinator.
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Disability Support Services

To request accommodations for this course, contact the disability support office at your home university. You must register each semester and for each course. Read more about the Great Plains IDEA process for requesting accommodations.


A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis : The Eightfold Path to More Effective Problem Solving
Bardach, Eugene S., Patashnik, Eric M.
Edition: 7th edition
ISBN: 9781071884133
Publisher: CQ Press

Writing Public Policy
Smith, Catherine F., Smith, Catherine
Edition: 6th edition
ISBN: 9780197643495
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated

Course Access

Approximately two weeks before the first day of class at MU, the MU Campus Coordinator will email course access information to students for courses taught by MU. Using the instructions and information in the email, students will be able to activate their Canvas at Mizzou and MU email account. Instructors may restrict course access until the first day of class.

Students needing assistance with setting up their account should contact the MU IT Help Desk at 573-882-5000. If students haven’t received the course access information email, please reach out to the MU Campus Coordinator at

Exam Proctor

This course does not require an exam proctor.

Synchronous Components

This course does not include synchronous components.

University Members
Members of the Great Plains IDEA are universities accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Member universities recruit, admit and graduate students, teach in an academic program and contribute to the leadership and maintenance of the alliance. Membership in the alliance is a selective process that engages institutional leadership at all levels.

Wearbon_Kristen_Headshot_for_Website1.pngThe online Family and Community Services Program is teaching me to observe, evaluate, and assist families using a strengths-based approach. In my previous role as alumni advisor, one of my responsibilities was speaking with parents from various backgrounds to prepare them for their scholar's graduation and matriculation. Using what I learned in Resilience in Families and Family Resource Management I was able to highlight families' assets and internal resources to help them help their scholar succeed, in addition to providing them with new information and external resources. All of my courses have contributed in some way to how I now approach my work and interact with those close to me. I am a better employee, sister, daughter, friend, and mentor because of the online Family and Community Services program!

– – Kristen Wearbon, Family and Community Services Student,
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