T-31 days


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My public policy comprehensive exam is in 31 days.

Levels of dread and terror are spiking.

According to the examiners, the basic requirements for students are:

  1. being familiar with the major approaches (and their authors) advanced to explain the policy process and policy outcomes;
  2. understanding how these approaches differ in terms of their ontological assumptions about what units of analysis (individuals, collective entities of social action, institutions / social and economic structure, norms, etc) best explain policy-making;
  3. understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different epistemological approaches (qualitative / quantitative) to explaining the policy process and its outcomes.

Between the core course and study group sessions, I have read a lot of the required material. The trouble is how it doesn’t really ‘stick’. I need to find ways to keep enough ideas, authors, and references in my head to satisfy the examiners on August 22nd.

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