From Research to Policy: Part One

Credits: 10


How can we change the world? All too often, it feels as if we can’t, and change is a complex process. The thought of trying to make a difference can leave us feeling inconsequential. In your first year, you will develop a set of skills that will enable you to approach problems in a way that can bring about real change. Working as part of a multidisciplinary team, you will select a social problem and learn how to explore its complexity. Part of this involves developing certain skills that can shape our approach to ‘messy’ challenges, such as: 

  • The ability to reflect on ourselves, so that we become more aware of our role, prejudices and power. 
  • A willingness to embrace ambiguity, and to revisit a problem continually, even when we have discovered a solution. 
  • An openness to exploring a problem from multiple perspectives so that we discover different ways of seeing the world. 

For change to be possible, we need to understand social issues in terms of complex systems, power, and social norms. Through your research, you will consider what kind of change you seek (e.g. individual attitudes or access to resources), what precedents there are, who the stakeholders are and what kind of power is involved, what strategies could bring about change and how to measure the effectiveness of the change you seek. The class meets for two hours every week. At the end of the module, each group will present a multimedia research report.