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PPOL: Public Policy

General Guide on Researching Public Policy. Intended for individuals enrolled in the Master of Public Policy program at the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy.

What is Public Policy?


Policy is a difficult term to define.  There is no one particular definition of public policyThere are many definitions.  Here are some:

Thomas A. Birkland in his book An Introduction to Policy Process includes the following definition for policy:

"...a statement by government - at whatever level - of what it intends to do about a public problem."(pg.9)

"Policies are revealed through texts, practices, symbols, and discourses that define and deliver values including goods and services as well as regulations, income, status, and other positively or negatively valued attributes".

Public Policy

Public policy is related to the public interest and is, therefore, often the product of governments. 

Public policies address problems that are public or that some think should be public as opposed to private.  They are created on behalf of the public.