Understanding Qualitative Public Policy Research

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Research on public policy is a complicated and nuanced field with many different ways to do things. One of the most common ways to study public policy is through qualitative research, and for a good reason. In this guide, we’ll look at how qualitative research is used in public policy and how data is collected to help make decisions.

What is qualitative public policy research?

Qualitative research is a way of learning about how people act, think, and feel by collecting and analyzing information that is based on non-numerical data. Qualitative research is used in public policy research to learn about the experiences and points of view of people like citizens, policymakers, and experts or stakeholder perspectives.

Qualitative research can be done in many different ways, such as through interviews, focus groups, case studies, and ethnography. Researchers can use this method of inquiry to get detailed information about a particular issue or topic. This information can then be used to help make decisions and create policies.

How is Qualitative Research Used in Public Policy?

There are many ways that qualitative research in public policy is used. These are some of the most common uses:

Finding Stakeholder Views – Stakeholder perspectives and experiences, such as those of people or policymakers, can be found through qualitative research. This information can be used to help create and carry out policies.

Assessing Policy Impact – Qualitative research can be used to gauge how policies will affect various groups of people. This information can be used to improve policies already in place and help make new ones.

Creating Policy Recommendations: Qualitative research can be used to develop evidence-based policy recommendations based on stakeholders’ experiences and perspectives.


Qualitative research is a valuable tool for researching public policy because it tells us about stakeholders’ experiences and points of view. By knowing how qualitative research is done and how it is used in public policy, we can learn more about the complicated field of public policy research and how it affects our society.

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