Policy Category Explanations

Please read the following explanations of each policy area or category before determining which category is the best fit for your proposal.

Aging & Retirement

Policies that influence the wellbeing and protection of the aged. May frequently overlap with health, social and family policy, welfare/workfare and disability.


Pertains primarily to the development and application of benefit/cost methods in public policy and management.

Child Policy

Policies that influence the wellbeing of children. May overlap frequently with health, social and family policy.  Most often, proposals directly related to the education of children will be referred to the education area.

Civil Society

Focuses on the contributions of nonprofit organizations, volunteerism and public participation in public policy and management.

Crime/Illegal Drugs

Criminal justice policy or policy responses to drug abuse and illegal drug markets. May overlap frequently with health.


Pertains to data collection and analysis in one or more of the following.


Policies that influence the well-being, treatment and care of persons with disabilities. Pertains also to social welfare and workplace accommodation of persons with disabilities.


Education policy at all levels with an emphasis on issues internal to education such as student performance and the overall performance of educational institutions. May overlap with frequently with employment/training and public finance/taxation.

Ethnicity/Race in Policy/Management

Proposal focuses on ethnicity/race as a fundamental/primary factor in an analysis of policy and management issues.


Policies that influence employment opportunities for different populations. May overlap frequently with evaluation and welfare/workfare.


Policies that influence the impact of human activity on the natural environment.


Focuses primarily on new evaluation methods, recent examples of complex evaluations of policies and programs, or the role of evaluation in the policy process.

Gender in Policy/Management

Proposal focuses on gender as a fundamental/primary factor in an analysis of policy and management issues.


Pertains to policy and management issues in health care. May overlap frequently with crime/drugs, ethnicity/race, gender and policy, social and family policy, and welfare/workfare.


Pertains primarily to the use of historical analysis to inform contemporary discussions of policy and management issues.

Housing/Community Development

Policy issues related to community economic development and housing (including homelessness). May overlap frequently with employment/training, public finance, social and family policy, and welfare/workfare.


Policies that influence the movement of persons across national boundaries, and the well-being of immigrants.

Media and Public Opinion

Pertains primarily to the role of the media and public opinion in shaping public policy and management.


Pertains research methods in one or more of the following.

Policy Analytic

Focuses on basic issues in policy analysis methodology rather than to the application of an analytic method to a specific problem.

Political Processes

Pertains to one or more of the following:

Political Institutions

Pertains primarily to analyses of how political institutions are shaping public policy and management outcomes, and of how potential changes to institutions might change outcomes.

Policy Informatics

NEW in 2012: Is an umbrella construct that features the use of information technologies, and computational modeling (such as agent-based, system dynamics, data visualization or social network modeling) to inform policy analysis, management, and decision making. It pays particular attention to the study of organizations and their management through gaining an understanding of the information flows within an organization or society including defining what is relevant information and how is it used.

Public & Non-Profit Management

Pertains primarily to public and non-profit management concerns, strategies and policies, as well as the relationship to the shaping of public policy. This area includes the subcategory of Policy and Management Education which pertains primarily to curriculum issues in graduate education in public policy, or related topics, as informed by recent developments in research and practice across public policy, public management, methods and other categories.

Public Finance/Taxation

Pertains primarily to public financial analysis, budgeting, taxation, and related topics. May overlap with education.


Pertains primarily to the development and evaluation of various qualitative methods. May overlap frequently with education, evaluation, health, policy analytic methods, and public management.


Pertains primarily to the development and evaluation of various quantitative methods.

Science and Technology Policy

Policies that influence innovation and investment in science/technology. May overlap frequently with regulation. APPAM often assigns e-government related proposals to this area.

Social and Family Policy

Policies that influence the condition of social and family structures. Emphasis should be on social and family circumstances. May frequently overlap with child policy.

Social Equity

Pertains primarily to policies that influence gender, ethnicity and race relations and protections. May frequently overlap with education, employment and social & family policy.


Policies that provide financial assistance to the needy, including those that require work in exchange for benefits. Emphasis should be on the policies and their immediate impacts.

Other Public Policy

APPAM is open to proposals on a wide variety of policy issues.

Secondary Policy Areas

Secondary policy areas apply to a proposal whose primary focus is on one of the aforementioned topics but also has a strong focus on one of the following:

Asset Building

Pertains to research and/or policies that affect asset accumulation or wealth management, particularly as applies to families or individuals. May frequently overlap with Housing and Public Finance.


Pertains to research and/or policies that have a global impact, focus on one or more foreign countries in contrast to the US or another country, or focus on policies that affect one of more countries politically, socially, economically, culturally, etc.
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