The teaching and conduct of policy analysis need to be updated to account better for the special challenges that arise because social problems often occur in complex adaptive systems. This working draft suggests a number of changes in pedagogy and practice relating to (1) worldview when conceiving and posing problems, (2) the basis for reasoning and inference within a worldview (i.e., the relative role of theory and data), (3) analytic style for conducting inquiry (e.g., treatment of uncertainty and the way in which options are compared) and (4) the character of the models used (e.g., analytic, system-dynamics, and agent-based models) and the questions asked of them. The working paper was developed to elicit reactions and suggestions from the communities involved with policy analysis, policy-related modeling (including computational social science), and the study of complex adaptive systems.
Davis, Paul K., Tim McDonald, Ann Pendleton-Jullian, Angela O'Mahony, and Osonde A. Osoba, A Complex Systems Agenda for Teaching and Conducting Policy Studies. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2020. https://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WR1326.html.
Davis, Paul K., Tim McDonald, Ann Pendleton-Jullian, Angela O'Mahony, and Osonde A. Osoba, A Complex Systems Agenda for Teaching and Conducting Policy Studies, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, WR-1326, 2020. As of July 15, 2021: https://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WR1326.html