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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.


The making of public policy is usually about problem-solving and finding a solution to the problem.

Public Policy:

  • is made in response to some sort of problem, whether real or made on behalf of the public
  • is made to find a solution to a problem
  • is made by governments even if the ideas come from outside of government or as a result of an interaction between the governmental or intergovernmental body and a non-governmental body
  • is what the government chooses to do or not to do

Public policy is often a statement made by government, however, it can also be indicative of what the government decides not to do, so may be an implicit policy.

These "statements" are found in a variety of documents put out by the government.