Tell Your Story Concept
Policy analysis approach by Bardach is generally defined as “determining which of various alternative policies will most achieve a given set of goals in light of the relations between the policies and the goals” (Bardach, 2005). Anyway, the analysis of the political processes may be divided into two central groups: Analysis of policy as analytical approach and analysis as the prescription. The former represents the attempts to explain policies and the development of political tendencies, while the latter stands for involving the formulated policies and offerings, thus improving social welfare. Sphere of interest, represented in the political analysis and the purpose of this analysis define the type of analysis itself, and also defines the profile of the required information for the analysis. It is necessary to emphasize that the combination of political analysis jointly with program estimation will be defined as the political research. Bardach (2005) emphasizes that the central concept for this research is the Tell Your Story concept. Originally, this concept is used to highlight the critical role of the evaluation and analysis strategy. Then it is applied for description of the value, which is required for the political reports, and also it is applied in for the broader political control activity.
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Tell Your Story concept can be regarded as absolutely legitimate concept; however, it undoubtedly has PR features. Anyway it is used for the evaluation of the results of the politics; moreover, it is the effective communication tool.
Thoroughly composed analytical report of the political activity can be used for informing state and local stakeholders and politicians on the matters of the impact of political program. If the data for the report is limited, and there is strong necessity to provide legitimate data, Tell Your Story concept may be regarded as the valuable tool for challenging political efforts and the activities presupposed in the political program that have the greatest public impact and the greatest possibility for success.
As for the matters, whether the Tell Your Story concept is a hype or Public relations tool, it is necessary to mention, that any communicative tolls, which is used in politics, social studies, promotion etc is regarded as Public relations, consequently, there is no need to split up these two definitions of a single concept. Taking into account the matter of its successful use among politicians and the fact of its application in most political analyses, it is necessary to emphasize the effectiveness of this concept both as the legitimate and as the Public Relations tool.
Along with other communication tools, Tell Your Story concept provides the effective communication strategies with the audience, and helps to define the sources of this communication as well as the strong and weak points of these communications. Moreover, the hype features of the concept are aimed at creating the advertisement image of the politician, which is necessary for effective communication and effective positioning of the political activist, strategy, party or decision.
In conclusion it is necessary to mention, that the necessary source for the effective communication should be defined with taking into account the perspective of further communication, as it is often required to maintain the communication, while it tends to ruin and stop any contacts with the audience.
Kinds of “Data” Which are Acceptable in Policy Analysis
The kinds of the required data, and data which is acceptable generally depend on the type of the analysis. The types define which classification of the data will be required, and which approaches for data finding will be required. Thus, analycentric approach is mainly concentrated on personal problems and requires data on the solutions of these probems; its scope is the micro-scale and its problem explanation is regarded to be of technical nature. The initial purpose of this approach is to identify the most efficient solution in technical and financial contexts (e.g. the most effective and reasonable distribution of resources)
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Policy process approach towards the analysis is concentrated on the political processes and the stakeholders who are involved in these processes. Consequently, the data which is required is meso-scale and touches upon problem understanding. This data is generally of a political nature. Stillman (2004) emphasizes that the aims at determining what processes and means are used and tries to explain the role and influence of stakeholders within the policy process.
According to Radin (2000) the meta-policy approach is a systematic tool and it mainly requires the contextual data for the analysis. Thus, its scope is the macro-scale and its problem interpretation is generally of a systematic origin. It is claimed to explain the contextual components of the problems, and explain political processes from thee contextual point of view, which requires clear understanding of political, financial and socio-cultural factors which influence these political processes.
In order to gain the necessary data for the analysis it is necessary to verify, define and detail the researched issue, thus, successful policy analysis will have require allocated and clearly defined problem in order to define the necessary steps.
As for the steps of the analysis, each will require particular data to be provided. Thus, Evaluation step will require quantitative data for the analysis, as it is claimed to measure and select among alternatives and relevant evaluation criteria. This step considers the costs and the benefits of the actions, effectiveness of the political programs as well as equity, administrative ease, legality, and political acceptability
Identification step involves an incrementalist approach. It is focused at understanding what is sought is very important. In order to create the alternative variants of the analysis and the solutions it requires clear realization of the problem: its essence, origin and the consequences
Distinguishing step of the analysis requires the list of possible alternatives and the set of criteria which define these alternatives. Numerical data is also required, however it does not speak for itself, consequently, and argumentative reasoning of this data is required. As it is the list of alternatives, the analysis would not be completed without the comparison schemes, which are used to summarize advantages and disadvantages of every option.
Monitoring and implementation step of the analysis is claimed to assure continuity, define whether the political actions are having impact and whether the political issues are of essential significance for the analysis. Even after the implementation of the policy this step may help to define the doubts and demerits of the approach. It is claimed (Stillman, 2004) that policies should be monitored to measure the influence which they have, to define whether this impact is sufficient, and to define whether these policies should be continued, changed or reformed.
The advantages of the qualitative data represent the fact that this data is mainly standard, and does not require precise numbers to be sufficient. The disadvantage of this data is that it often can not be used without support of the qualitative data.
As for the qualitative type of data, it should be stated that it may differ essentially depending on the source and the approach used to gain this data, however, it is often used solely and requires no grounding for it.
Culture of Politics and the Culture of Analysis
To begin with it is necessary to mention, that these two cultures exist as the extremes of a single approach and it is emphasized that in some way they are interchanged, and inextricably connected in the sphere of political analysis. These cultures are distinct, however, they can not be regarded as equal: Political culture is concentrated on the norms of analysis (systematic thought and freedom from deliberate prejudice), however these two cultures exist as a master and slave. It is emphasized that the difference of these two cultures is represented in various aspects, and the conflict between them often reminds the conflict between analysts and politicians, or intelligence and power. They represent different approaches towards political processes: studying and action. However, it is clear that there are differences between these two cultures in the matters of values which they represent, time they require for the action and result, uncertainty they have against each other, evidence they represent and the meanings which they support. Radin (2000) emphasizes that there are particular instances in which these two approaches sit across from one another without engaging in what could be regarded as an exchange. These cultures do not speak the same language as there is strong tendency of particular groups of policy professionals to talk to each other in code.
The early studies of this sphere highlighted the existence of the implicit acceptance that political analysis would be controlled by the rules of the neutral approaches and objectivities in policy that were inculcated in the analytical culture.
The culture of politics and the culture of political analysis have various imperatives which they operate. Originally, analysis is searching for the options, while politics act on the option-rejecting basis. Analysis presupposes long-term perspectives, as one of the central aims of the analysis is the search for the options (surely, options should be long-term in order to be claimed), while politics are often rime-shorted and performed in the conditions of severe pressing of the opponents, circumstances and laws.
Policy analysis is regarded to be uncertain (basically, but not in particular) and complexity explicating: this explication is based on thorough analysis and the requirement for granting studies and options of the political processes. Politics itself is quite simplifying and ignoring, as politicians often have to ignore numerous factors, thus, aiming to overcome the severe depression mentioned above. There are factors that can not be ignored, and factors, which may be ignored for simplifying the allover situation.
Politics originally may take different forms, while analysis approaches are not so diverse. It is emphasized that at the basic level it is necessary to mention that policy analysis is often used as the political argument and that policy conflicts are produced by political conflicts (Radin, 2000)
As for the basic issues of difference, the following notions should be highlighted: political culture is the culture of actions, which are performed on the basis of defined policies, and incorporated in the systems of political reforms and programs. The culture of analysis is the set of norms and rules which are used for studying the politics, defining the merits and demerits of the political actions and searching for the options
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Can policy analysis be objective and neutral? Should policy analysis be objective and neutral?
Political analysis is basically the issue of subjective (often personal) researches, which are used for proving someone’s point of view. In spite of the fact that analysis may be used for finding options, these options are represented by researcher, or group of researchers who have their own point of view, consequently, the options will be based solely on their viewpoint. This defines both factors – objectivity and neutrality. On the one hand this subjectivity is reasoned by the fact of personal approach towards the analysis. On the other hand, the approaches which are considered objective were also elaborated by researchers with some particular attitude towards a problem, and these analytical standards neither can be regarded as neutral.
Policy analysis may be neutral and objective only in the case, when the researchers will not have some particular interests ambitions, power and their own point of view (but only the social regard of the problem, multi-angle vision of the issue and complete information from all the perspectives possible). These are the factors of neutral analysis, still, it can not be objective, as it will not be able to satisfy the interests of all the interest groups.
As for the necessity of the analysis to be objective and neutral it is essential to state that there is no strong necessity for this. On the one hand objectivity and neutrality is the key to success sand prevention of the conflicts. Neutral analysis would take into account all the factors possible for correct decisions and options to be provided. On the other hand, analysis should offer particular decisions and ways for solving problems. These should be based on previous experience, failures of the analyzed policies and successes of similar political principles and actions, which are initially not objective.
Another necessary notion for this discussion is the origin of conflict. Neutral analysis can not be conflicting, while the ruling force of progress is conflict. Neutral analyses would lead to the dead ends any process, as the options and decisions, provided by such analytical approaches will not be challenging and will not claim for essential changes and extreme modifications. Conflict is also required for ruining old school approaches and creating innovations and progressive tendencies which will inevitably lead to progress and appearing of new viewpoints, innovative approaches of the analysis, which would incorporate extremely different factors. That is why analysis is not and can not be neutral and objective.
Bardach, E. (2005). A practical guide for policy analysis: The eightfold path to more effective problem solving (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: CQ Press.
Radin, B.A. (2000). Beyond Machiavelli: Policy analysis comes of age. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. ISBN 9780878407736.
Stillman, R.J. (2004). Public administration cases and concepts (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780618310456.