DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU


Module Specifications

Archived Version 2020 - 2021

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module will give students training in a number of core skills for policy makers, including bargaining and negotiations, cost-benefit analysis, risk and uncertainty.

Learning Outcomes

1. to conduct a synthesis of research relevant to policy
2. to conduct a negotiations/ bargaining simulation
3. to understand risk and uncertainty with relation to policy making
4. to conduct a cost-benefit analysis
5. to understand and use tools for forecasting policy options

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Assessment Feedback3No Description
Lecture22No Description
Assignment Completion225No Description
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Synthesising research
Few policy makers directly conduct or commision research. They depend on others' research or how analysis of how policy treatments worked in other countries. We will look at the quality of data/ evidence, meta-analysis, diversity of evidence with a view to conducting research synthesis.

Risk/ uncertainty
Few or no policies are chosen with positions of certainty as to the outcomes. Understanding risk and uncertainty (and the differences between the two) is therefore crucial to good policy analysis. we will introduce probability, confidence etc.

Negotiating and Bargaining
One of the keys skills of a policy maker is to negotiate a position on behalf of the organisation. To do this effectively one needs to understand each sides bargaining strengths. We will use Game Theory to help conduct simulations of bargaining.

Forecasting policy options
A key skill in policy analysis is to forecast policy options. we will look at four main types of forecasting: judgement, extrapolating trends, modelling, and decision structuring to gain knowledge of policy forecasting and see how these work in real cases, focussing then on their relative strengths.

Cost Benefit Analysis
This is one of the most common tools of policy analyists. It builds on many of the concepts dealt with earlier in the module and the programme to show how to conduct a CBA and when they might be of most and least use.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Guess and Farnham: 2011, Cases in Public Policy Analysis, Georgetown UP,
  • Brent: 2017, Advanced Introduction to Cost-benefit Analysis, Edward Elgar,
  • Charles Manski: 2013, Public Policy in an Uncertain World, Harvard UP,
  • Fischoff and Kadvany: 0, Risk: A very short introduction, OUP,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes