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Sample Critical Thinking Paper on Closing the Policy Cycle

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Sample Critical Thinking Paper on Closing the Policy Cycle
What is the main thesis (claim) or argument in the paper?

The limited take-up of evaluation findings by policy-makers, stakeholders, and the evaluation practitioners is a barrier to closing the policy cycle.

What evidence is used to support it?

The evidence supporting this argument is contained in the consequences of evaluations with evaluations’ process, content, and design factors. The process factors hampering the closing of the policy cycle includes the absence of a systematic process of inclusion of the stakeholders from the onset of the evaluation exercise. This creates a gap between evaluation and policy formulation, which in turn creates a deficiency regarding the institutionalization of lesson learning and efforts that lead to policy improvement. Furthermore, the recommendations discussed with stakeholders are rather vague, thus providing less insight and added value for policy-makers. Secondly, the limited up-take of evaluation findings that creates a barrier to closing the policy cycle can be attributed to design factors. The existing methodologies have hampered the closure of the policy cycle because they have continued to focus on input additionality, and have not adapted accordingly to deal with broader socio-economic challenges. Furthermore, the lack of focus on critical success factors has hampered the transferability of the evaluation methods. Finally, the closure of the policy cycle has been hampered by content factors. Such factors include the formulation of recommendations in the absence of factual evidence. Some evaluation studies have failed to include recommendations concerning the design and management of the measure/program, and the broader policy mix for improving overall outcomes.

What other evidence can be used to support to prove or disprove the claim?

Take-up of evaluation recommendations is also influenced by several external factors that are beyond the quality of recommendations and their applicability. Firstly, it is influenced by the organizational context and the actual political context under which it operates. Secondly, the intentions that inspired the call for evaluation can contribute to the determination of evaluation uses or misuses because some evaluations are set to commensurate the ‘value for money’, such as justification for budget allocation, which makes them present limited effects or impacts on policy orientation (Teirlinck et al. 374). 

What are the effects of the discussions and analyses in the paper to this subject, your work on the issue paper or your work as a policy analyst in the USE government? 

As a policy analyst in the USE government, this paper has provided in-depth insight on ways of closing the policy cycle to ensure policy effectiveness. Firstly, it is evident that systematic process of inclusion of all stakeholders since the start of the evaluation exercise is critical in   involvement of stakeholders is critical in filling the gap between evaluation and policy, thus closing the policy gap. Secondly, the application of novel methodologies and survey content factors is critical to improving the up-take of evaluation studies’ results to facilitate the closing of the policy cycle. Finally, increasing the usefulness of evaluation to close the policy gap requires a balanced approach of integrating new insights gradually into previously preferred and well-established surveys and methods.

















Works Cited

Teirlinck, Peter, et al. “Closing The Policy Cycle: Increasing The Utilization Of Evaluation Findings In Research, Technological Development And Innovation Policy Design.” Science & Public Policy (SPP) 40.3 (2013): 366-377. Academic Search Premier. Web. 8 Oct. 2014.



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