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  3. Professional Practice in Policy Research

Professional Practice in Policy Research (PPMN90010)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 25On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codePPMN90010
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject will examine contemporary issues and debates in public policy making in a variety of contexts (Victorian, Australian, and international) through insights provided by professional public policy practitioners. Using these first-hand accounts and questioning these experts about organisational structures, cultures and policy environments, students will carry out research or analytical exercises (of their own choice) of relevance to a particular organisation that will be involved in high-level and complex policy making. Students will also participate in the examination and analysis of contemporary case studies of public policy in action, as well as developing advanced analytical, research and report-writing skills.

Intended learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this subject should be able to:

  • Identify and explain major challenges and policy responses and reforms in contemporary political debates, processes of public policy making and public sector management with a nuanced appreciation of the expectations and roles of key actors and institutions;
  • Critically select and employ appropriate research methods and techniques based on rigorous analysis, careful consideration of a range of data sources and cogent methodological frameworks along with an appreciation of emerging and innovative professional practices to establish strong evidentiary foundations;
  • Demonstrate mastery of the latest scholarship with confidence to meticulously and analytically discern and appraise contextual factors that could influence or impact desired policy or organisational outcomes;
  • Comfortably and assuredly work with complexity in terms of information and policy and managerial environments to creatively and expertly distinguish between different dilemmas and opportunities and to tailor strategies to empower a range of key actors, such as public managers and service users or clients, to negotiate change and to effectively resolve or mitigate conflict;
  • Clearly and persuasively communicate to high-level government officials through a comprehensive policy research document;
  • Exhibit in-depth technical understandings of policy and service design, implementation and delivery principles and challenges, acknowledging different impacts on and needs of less powerful users and communities;
  • Draw upon best practice in upholding at times distinctive public sector ethics and values;
  • Execute a substantial public policy and management research project independently.

Generic skills

Students who successfully complete this subject should have:

  • in-depth knowledge of the disciplines of political science and policy and administration, and the ability to examine governance, policy and public sector reform issues from other disciplinary perspectives.
  • critical and strong reasoning skills, and creativity in applying theory and research methods to complex practical problems across diverse contexts.
  • effective oral and written communication skills.
  • an advanced appreciation of the Asian and Pacific regions, including Indigenous knowledge, cultures and values and sustainable futures.
  • autonomy, self-motivation, self-direction and outstanding organisational skills to set goals and manage time and priorities.
  • skills in self-assessment, self-awareness, reflective and lifelong learning, with an overriding commitment to personal and professional integrity.

Last updated: 23 January 2019