Principles of Client Oriented Policy Analysis

Professor: Wasserman
Units: 1.0
Elective Course (Fulfills a requirement in the Community-Partnered Policy and Action stream)

The main premise of this course is that policy analysis (in contrast to policy research) is inextricably linked to client relationships. A second premise is that some analysis is better than no analysis, and that policy analysts are often asked to confront difficult policy issues with far fewer resources at their disposal than they would like.

To improve the quality of public policy decisions, policy analysts must cultivate clients, often serving as their counselors and confidantes. At the same time, policy analysts must not compromise the integrity of their work and work products. Balancing client needs while maintaining professional standards can often be challenging, and at times even infuriating. This tension can be exacerbated when time and other resources are in short supply.

This course will explore ways to develop and maintain good client relationships and to conduct "quick and dirty" analyses that allow the analyst to both meet client expectations and to maintain their personal and professional integrity. Specifically, the course will:

  • Acquaint students with various tricks of the trade for conducting quick turnaround work.
  • Suggest various ways to develop and maintain strong and productive client relationships.
  • Provide students with an opportunity to step outside of RAND and to participate in a short-term project with a local client. students will conduct these assignments in teams of three. The products of these client engagements will be both a briefing and a memorandum.