The generation and screening of alternatives in policy analysis

by Warren Walker


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Once a policy problem is deemed worthy of analysis, a policy study proceeds by generating various alternative courses of action that might solve or alleviate the problem. Large policy studies generally involve too many alternatives to examine each in detail, so they often include a step in which those that are clearly unattractive are screened out. This paper discusses how the alternatives to be evaluated in a policy study get identified and designed. It also describes an efficient structure for the screening of alternatives. The paper was prepared as a chapter in a book entitled Handbook of Systems Analysis: Craft Issues and Procedural Choices.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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