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Rational Model

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Rational Model 

A systematic approach to problem-solving.

Pal, 2006, p. 36 


A systematic approach to problem-solving that lays out the problem, reviews options, and makes recommendations based on the intersection between goals and factual circumstances.

Also called the "root" model, where goals and objectives (values as well, but these may be essentially hidden) are weighed and decided in advance. Projects are then evaluated based on whether or not the goals were achieved.

Associated problems/criticisms:

a) if the goals set out to be achieved do not reflect the real problem(s) that exist, the policy does not rectify anything b) it is difficult to isolate a problem or policy's success from other issues in society (there may be other variables that confound the problem or influence the outcomes, thus making it difficult to link a certain policy intervention to specific results) c) it is difficult to gather all of the necessary information to examine all potential options ahead of time d) there may not always be enough time or resources to do this effectively, in which case an incremental approach might be more appropriate (see related concept).

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© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance