A Critical Assessment of Quantitative Methodology as a Policy Analysis Tool

by Ralph E. Strauch


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Presents a critical assessment of the role of quantitative tools and methods in the analysis of public policy issues. The paper focuses on the limitations of quantitative methodology as a tool for the analysis of soft and "squishy" problems and on the distortions that result when those limitations are neglected. This assessment is followed by a preliminary attempt to outline a theory of judgmental analysis intended to explore the difficulties more fully and suggest directions for their resolution. The examples used as illustrations are drawn largely from military and defense applications; however, the issues addressed arise equally strongly in the analysis on nondefense problems, and the assessment presented in this paper is intended to apply to both.

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