The method of inquiry chosen for developing public policy can have a major effect on the recommendations that emerge. However, deliberate bias or sabotage is always possible. See below.
THEE identifies distinctive based on sharply differing views on how certainty can be assured when testing knowledge. This field, called epistemology by philosophers, has been extensively studied but … usually with a tendency to view one approach as superior. Academic disciplines vary greatly in the methods used to develop confidence in their knowledge (i.e. in their preferred epistemology); and this is one cause of discord and feelings of superiority amongst disciplines.
THEE-Topic, and will require its own Satellite in the TOP Web Cluster. Key aspects of inquiry are summarized in this graphic:is a large and complex
These are concerned to be open and comprehensive, so they accept input of many sorts, and unselfconsciously seek to generate aaccount of the situation.
Most tend to organize facts as evidence (), often applying reasoning and mathematical techniques ( ). Very few use a approach, and the complex requirements of (controls, randomization, blindness &c.) are difficult if not impossible to implement in the societal sphere. Some policy analysts seek to resolve dilemmas or reconcile opposing positions ( ).
These usually draw ondata and use and techniques. methods are usually viewed as too complicated. methods may be used to reconcile opposing positions of industry and advocacy groups.
Given immature political institutions, government will often commission papers to be written so as to recommend a course of action that has already been chosen on a political or self-interested basis.
Example: The George W. Bush presidency sought to use the September 2001 terrorist attack as a reason for going to war with Iraq. All persons involved were Saudis, and Iraq had no connection to the event. It is a common view that both the US and UK governments were prepared to alter information and interpretations of intelligence in to justify going to war with Iraq. Vast expense and many deaths followed, anti-Western feeling was exacerbated, and the terrorist danger probably increased as a consequence.
Even when sabotage is not direct, recommendations are commonly slanted to preferences of the funder. Sometimes details and mathematics are pseudo-science aiming to overwhelm or awe.
Consider the effect of mind-set on policy-generating inquiry.
Originally posted: August-2009; Last updated: 12-Jul-2012