Analyzing Public Health Policy: Three Approaches

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Policy is an important feature of public and private organizations. Within the field of health as a policy arena, public health has emerged in which policy is vital to decision making and the deployment of resources. Public health practitioners and students need to be able to analyze public health policy, yet many feel daunted by the subject's complexity. This article discusses three approaches that simplify policy analysis: Bacchi's “What's the problem?” approach examines the way that policy represents problems. Colebatch's governmentality approach provides a way of analyzing the implementation of policy. Bridgman and Davis's policy cycle allows for an appraisal of public policy development. Each approach provides an analytical framework from which to rigorously study policy. Practitioners and students of public health gain much in engaging with the politicized nature of policy, and a simple approach to policy analysis can greatly assist one's understanding and involvement in policy work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-521
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Promotion Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


  • Foucault
  • policy
  • policy analysis
  • public health


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