Policy analysis refers to the process of evaluating the technical implications of options or solutions proposed for solving certain public problems (Bardach, 2009). This process comprises two main activities, evaluation of proposed policies or programs and evaluation of the analysis outcomes. To conduct this analysis, analysts use qualitative and quantitative data, adopt different approaches to solve the problem and apply the chosen method(s) cautiously (Patton, Sawicki & Clark, 2015).
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Policy analysis is a method used to solve problems, and usually results in the publication of the results obtained from the analytical process (Bardach, 2009). The analyst begins the analytical process by stating the problem. The process involves six basic steps that include problem definition, criteria selection, alternative, evaluation of alternatives, selection of alternative, and implementation of analysis recommendations or results.
On the other hand, comprehensive planning refers to the process of determining the goals and aspirations of a community to direct its future growth appropriately (Bardach, 2009). The process results in a document referred to as a comprehensive plan that serves as a policy guide to spur or direct community development. A
comprehensive plan contains vital information that determines the types of policies that are needed in areas that include land use, transportation, utilities, housing, and zoning (Patton et al., 2015). Comprehensive planning is different from policy analysis because it is the process that comes up with the necessary policies that need to be implemented for optimal community growth. On the other hand, policy analysis evaluates those policies and determines their implications on community development or as alternative solutions to public problems (Patton et al., 2015).
Bardach, E. (2009). A Practical Guide to Policy Analysis: The Eightfold Path to More Effective Problem Solving (3rd Ed). New York, NY: Chatham House Publishers, Seven Bridges Press, LLC.
Patton, C., Sawicki, D., & Clark, J. (2015). Basic Methods of Policy Analysis and Planning. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.