Three months down the road and the 2019 Y4P journey continues. It’s been worthwhile so far. The lessons are quite telling but for today, I will focus on the lessons learnt about the Public Policy Research Writing process.
When I enrolled, I thought I would coast through the Programme, for it appeared to me at the time, that public problems are obvious and therefore easy to resolve. However, as the months went by, I learnt that Public Policy Research is a lot more complex than I had first imagined.
What we sometimes regard as Public Problems may only be symptomatic of the real problems. Besides when one is able to identify a Public Problem, they must also diagnose the underlying causes to effectually prescribe the right solutions for the problem. Following the dedicated analysis of the problem, one can then attempt to persuade the reader with the appropriate evidence that what they (the researcher) think is the problem is actually the problem.
I will try to elucidate the point I am making.
At start of the Programme, I set out to focus my Public Policy Research on the lack of integrity and independence in the District Service Commissions in Uganda. To me, this was a Public Problem because for the past four years while working at the Inspectorate of Government, I had noticed a flurry of complaints about the District Service Commissions coming our way from various Local Governments.
However, as I delved into the research, conceptualized the problem and tried to convince my readers that this was a Public Problem, the first readers (my peers and instructors in the Programme) did not agree with me. I then realized that I needed to dig deeper and find evidence that could support my argument that this was actually a Public Problem. Fortunately, I managed to find that evidence. But even after finding that evidence I have had to dig much deeper to identify the underlying causes. I am now hoping that following that painstaking analysis of the underlying causes, I will be in position to suggest the right solutions which government can take up to effectively address the lack of integrity and independence in the District Service Commissions in Uganda.
Written by Zakaria Tiberindwa
Y4P Fellow 2019