Preface to the Fifth Edition
My aim in writing the several editions of this book has been to produce a critical synthesis of the field, while at the same time offering students, instructors, practitioners, a body of knowledge and skills that is applicable to real-world problems. This is not a text in the narrow and conventional sense of the term.
    Ever since the publication of the first edition of Public Policy Analysis more than thirty years ago, I have become more and more convinced that the methodology of policy analysis rests or should rest on epistemological foundations that differ from those of the disciplines of which policy analysis is composed. For this reason, I continue to define policy analysis as an applied social science discipline that employs multiple methods of inquiry to solve practical problems.
    What this means is the methodology of policy analysis cannot be reduced to the theories and analytical routines of microeconomics, because solutions for practical problems demand much more than analysis of rational choice, expected utility, and opportunity costs. By the same token, the methodology of policy analysis cannot be reduced to the study of politics, because solutions for practical problems require more than analysis of power, rule, and authority or who gets what, when, where, and how. Much more is involved. Finally, because a principal aim of policy analysis is to improve policies, the methodology of policy analysis cannot be reduced to an academic spectator sport in which knowledge is prized for its own sake.