The application of intellect to public problems.
(Pal 2006, 14)
In the recent volume of Policy Analysis in Canada, The State of the Art defines policy analysis as applied social and scientific research, also involving more implicit forms of practical knowledge, pursued by government officials and non-governmental organizations usually directed at designing, implementing and evaluating policies, programs and other courses of action adopted or contemplated by states. Policy analysis may be three things at once: 1) science, done systematically, 2) art, which makes it difficult to apply in a technical or rational way, and 3) craft, reflecting the need to be able to communicate analyses in effective ways in order to bring about changes to policies that could be improved. Academic literature has distinguished between policy study (the study of policy) and policy analysis (the study for policy). The former is concerned with understanding the development, logic and implications of overall state policy processes and the models used by investigators to analyze those processes.
Pal, Leslie. 2006. Beyond Policy Analysis: Public Issue Management in Turbulent Times, 3rd ed. Toronto: Nelson Education.