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Learning about Learning: Discovering the Work of Policy


Adams, D and Colebatch, HK and Walker, CK, Learning about Learning: Discovering the Work of Policy, Australian Journal of Public Administration, 74, (2) pp. 101-111. ISSN 0313-6647 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Institute of Public Administration Australia

DOI: doi:10.1111/1467-8500.12119


The development of policy rests on skilled practice by knowledgeable practitioners – ‘policy work’ – and it is important to know what skills and knowledge this work calls upon, and where these are learned. Although there is substantial academic knowledge and courses in this field, many practitioners will argue that policy work is ‘as much an art as a science’ and is something that ‘you learn as you go’. This article reports on an exploratory study of policy practitioners’ accounts of their practice, what counts as knowledge, and in what contexts it is ‘useful’. We examine the discourses through which policy work is accomplished, the way in which people learn to do it, and the place of academic work in the constitution of these discourses. Drawing on our respondents understanding of policy practice, we discuss what more might be done to facilitate learning about the work of policy.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:policy, learning, policy work
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Business systems in context
Research Field:Business information management (incl. records, knowledge and intelligence)
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Public services policy advice and analysis
UTAS Author:Adams, D (Professor David Adams)
ID Code:98815
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2015-03-03
Last Modified:2018-03-16

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