Using Qualitative Methods to Understand What the Policy Did

Richard Hoefer

in Policy Creation and Evaluation

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199735198
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918560 | DOI:

Series: Pocket Guides to Social Work Research Methods

Using Qualitative Methods to Understand What the Policy Did

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Once policies have been selected and implemented, social policy analysis can yield to social policy evaluation, that is, determining what happened as a result of the policy. This chapter introduces students to qualitative evaluation methods in a social policy context. Basic methods are illustrated from qualitative evaluations of TANF outcomes. This chapter briefly defines qualitative research, describes some of the key qualitative methods used by policy researchers to study the effects of policy, and identifies data collection techniques employed in qualitative policy research. It also discusses the advantages and criticisms of these methods and provides examples of their use in understanding the effects of welfare reform in the United States.

Keywords: social policy; program evaluation; TANF; qualitative methods; qualitative analysis; policy analysis

Chapter.  12563 words. 

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