Planning Analysis:
Course Syllabus


Robert Parker (


107 Hendricks



Office Hours:

10-11 am Tuesday and Thursday or by appointment

Class Meeting:

8:30-9:50 am Monday/Wednesday


152 Education

I.          Course Overview

This class is designed to (1) introduce you to planning and policy analysis, and (2) refine your skills in a variety of research methods associated with professional planning work. I take an applied approach to this course. In other words, this course will strive to teach common methods and approaches that can be applied to a variety of planning processes. More specifically, this course will cover:

 Basic Planning Analysis Tools

  Specific Research Techniques

 You will learn these various tools and techniques through (1) class discussions, (2) several assignments, (3) an extensive final team project that will result in a 30-40 page report and presentation, and (4) a mid-term and a final examination. Both exams will be take-home.

This course will demand a substantial time commitment. I have high expectations of students. These expectations will be reflected in (1) the demands of the work assigned, and (2) how I grade your work. By the end of the course you should be able to apply various tools and techniques to develop a high-quality analysis that would be expected of a professional planner.

II.          Reading Materials

1.               Patton, Carl V. and David S. Sawicki, Basic Methods of Policy Analysis and Planning.  2nd Edition, Prentice-Hall, 1993.

2.               A reading packet and other materials as assigned. Two copies of the reading packet will be available in the Hearth area of Hendricks Hall.

3.               Reading materials posted to the class Web site.

III.          Grading 

Your grade will be determined based on the following:

Attendance & Participation


Assignments (4)




Mid-Term Exam


Final Exam




 Late assignment policy: I strongly discourage submitting assignments late. Late assignments will receive a 20 percent penalty for each day past the due date.

IV.          Statistics Requirement

By now you are all aware of the statistics requirement for this course. The CRP program requires entering students to have, at a minimum, one undergraduate level course in basic statistics. If you have not completed the statistics requirement, you should consider enrolling in a statistics course this fall. Please meet with me after class if you have not completed the statistics requirement.

Statistical techniques are an important component of any plannerís analytical toolbox. Due to limited time and resources, we will focus on statistical tools that are commonly applied by practicing planners. We will not cover basic statistical concepts such as central tendencies, probability, and regression. These are all concepts that are more appropriately covered in basic undergraduate statistics courses. We will offer a statistics review in the Lab.

That all being said, you should not be intimidated by the quantitative aspects of this course. The concepts we will cover in class are relatively basic, and do not require calculus or even advanced algebra. My objective is to ensure that students have a basic comprehension of quantitative techniques and research design and are able to identify and apply appropriate methods within the framework of the rational policy analysis model.

IV.          Computer Applications

As with nearly every profession, computer applications will greatly enhance your efficiency and effectiveness as a planner. Toward that end, you will be using a variety of computer applications to complete various course activities. The zero week training and availability of various computer labs on campus will provide the resources you need to integrate computer applications into your coursework. The Planning Analysis Lab is intended to assist with the integration of computer applications with your coursework.

I expect that all course assignments will be completed using a word processor. Additionally, some assignments will require use of a spreadsheet program for data analysis and graphing. You will also learn SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) as part of the Planning Analysis Lab. SPSS is a computer application used for the analysis of survey and other statistical datasets.

To facilitate your coursework, I have established a Web site and mailing list for class. I expect you all to sign up for the mailing list. I will post out announcements and other information throughout the term. To join the list, send a message to with the message text:

subscribe pppm-613  

The Web site can be accessed at:


All class notes and handouts will be posted on the Web site. Part of the intent of the Web site is to provide access to those materials without having to photocopy them. The Web site will be revised weekly to include additional information.

V.          Planning Analysis Lab

The Planning Analysis Lab is a 1-credit required supplement to the Planning Analysis class. The Lab is taught by Bob Choquette and meets from 12-1:50 pm on Thursdays in 442 Grayson Hall (the SSIL lab). The purpose of the lab is to provide applied instruction in the use of computers in analyzing planning data and to supplement the class lectures with examples.

VI.    The Course Project

Early in the term we will assign and discuss the course project. The purpose of the project is to apply techniques covered during class to a planning project in a team setting. Groups of 4-6 students will be assigned to teams to work on one of several projects.

This year, the term projects for the Planning Analysis and Introduction to Professional Planning Practice classes will be combined. What that means is that you will have the opportunity to integrate information presented in both classes into your report. You will also have the opportunity to work with your peers in accomplishing this research.

To assist you in this process we will provide the research topic and some information. That information will include survey results that you will be required to analyze and interpret. You will supplement this data with other data sources to create a 30-40 page report. Your team will prepare and deliver a 20-30 minute presentation on your findings during the last week of class.

We will announce the project topic(s) early in the term.

VII. Schedule

Go to the schedule page.

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This page maintained by Bob Parker, ©2002
September 30, 2003