Policy analysts love solving complex problems. Their favorite problems are not just technically complex but also characterized by the presence of many different social actors that hold conflicting interests, objectives, and perceptions and act strategically to get the best out of a problem situation. This book offers guidance for policy analysts who want to assess if and how their analysis could be of help, based on the premise that problem formulation is the cornerstone in addressing complex problems. This book positions policy analysis within the theories on processes of policy making, and focuses on methods and techniques for structuring complex problems. The book takes a systems perspective as its basis, complemented by techniques for analyzing multi-actor systems, and for dealing with an uncertain future. Analytical results are then interpreted and used for problem formulation. In the last part of the book, the resulting problem formulation is used to diagnose meaningful follow-up activities, including potential in-depth policy analysis research. This book is firmly embedded in problem structuring theory, but also shows the tricks of the trade, the assumptions underlying practice, the choices that need to be made, and the dilemmas encountered by the analyst.
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