News & Publications



#2020APPAM Theme Series: Words in a Theme


The 2020 Virtual Fall Research Conference will be held online from November 11th to the 13th, under the theme Research Across the Policy Lifecycle: Formulation, Implementation, Evaluation and Back Again. We've tried to give you a brief explanation on the website, but context is more important than ever, so we're kicking off this series where leaders from the conference and APPAM will each tackle an aspect of how the theme connects to our reality. 

Today, Dr. David Johnson Director, Panel Study of Income Dynamics, Institute for Social Research University of Michigan, and Former APPAM President  talks about the connection to previous conferences and themes. 

Themes for the Fall Research Conference help focus the presentations, sessions and super sessions on the key goals of APPAM.  Ever since the first conference theme at the 1994 conference -- The Big Questions of Public Policy Analysis and Management – APPAM has selected a conference theme.  And as the word cloud of themes from the past three decades shows, many words are common across themes.  Not surprisingly, Public, Policy, Analysis and Management – APPAM -- are the most common, with research, evidence and .perspective also mentioned multiple times.  And controversies, problems and challenges make their appearance.  This year’s theme, Research across the Policy Lifecycle: Formulation, Implementation, Evaluation and Back Again, brings us back again to evaluating public policy and its implementation.

In recent years, conferences have focused on the importance of engaging wide range of perspectives, building evidence as an iterative and collaborative process, the nature of measurement and data, how essential research is for improving public policy, and that evidence-based policy is critical in evaluating successful (and even non successful) programs.  All themes emphasize key goals of APPAM, and point to the importance of the Fall Conference in bringing researchers and practitioners together in order to improve public policy.

And this year’s conference focuses on the policy life-cycle from formulation of the policy to the implementation and the evaluation and then reformulating improvements.  At last year’s Presidential Address we heard Matt Stagner talk about his experience with policy failure, re-evaluation and hope.  It is this re-evaluation of policy implementation that brings Public Policy Analysis together with Public Policy Management – the PP & M.  And this focus on the implementation of policy has been present at all of our Fall Conferences – even at the first Fall Conference in 1979 there were entire sessions on policy formation and implementation.

Public policy formulation, evaluation and implementation is what APPAM is all about.  It is more than words in a theme; it is what APPAM members do.  And the 2020 Conference will provide ample opportunities to learn about the policy life cycle - both successful and maybe even not so successful public policy.  Join us next week, attend sessions, participate in the receptions, look-up a poster, and join in the conversation.

Back to news