Public Policy Research

Who determines public policy?  Certainly, all branches of government participate directly in public policy decision-making. However, the general public, through their elected representatives and special-interest groups, participate indirectly.  The myriad forces brought to bear on a wide spectrum of public policy issues ensures that one side will not prevail to the complete exclusion of others.  Just, how many sides are thereto a public policy issue?  One pundit suggests that the national average is 8.3.

Ideally, any participant armed with reliable data and solid research will have an improved chance of being persuasive in the public policy debate.  Therefore, anyone who wants a fair chance of being heard and taken seriously in such debates, must do their homework.  Public policy research is just like any other type of research, it is simply focused on the relationship between government and the governed.

Research generally involves such primary research techniques as public opinion surveys and database inquiry, and secondary research methods including literature review.  The complexity of such research necessitates a high degree of understanding of research practices and the ability to articulate findings to support one’s side of the debate.


Legal Services Corporation, Washington DC – Nationwide analysis of the differences between the legal services needs of Native American and non-Native American populations, 2009.

Miller, LaSota & Peters law firm, Phoenix AZ – Statewide geo-demographic analysis of banking, check-cashing and payday loan business locations; preparation of presentation exhibits; assessment of zoning regulation impacts, 2004.

Arizona School Facilities Board – Creation of a computer model to determine reasonableness of enrollment projections submitted by school districts seeking construction funding under Arizona’s StudentsFIRST capital funding program, 1999, and annual model maintenance until 2003. 

City of Phoenix, AZ -- Preparation of grant request to National Park Service for funds to rehabilitate the historic Memorial Hall at Phoenix Steele Indian School Park, 2000.

William E. Morris Institute for Justice, Phoenix AZ – Analysis of property values in central Phoenix neighborhood being considered for possible Federal relocation assistance, 2000.

Town of Cave Creek, AZ – Management of Spur Cross Ranch annexation campaign, including setting up public hearings and managing the signature gathering process, 1997.

William E. Morris Institute for Justice, Phoenix AZ – Study of the economic effects of Welfare Reform on the economies of San Luis, Nogales, and Douglas, AZ, 1997.

Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest – Roosevelt vs. Keegan (CV91-13087), retained by plaintiff school districts to calculate statewide costs to bring school facilities up to particular building condition standards, using condition and square-footage data provided by the Legislature’s consultant, 1996.

Maricopa Association of Governments – Regional Affordable Rental Housing Study, 1989.

American Correctional Association – Nationwide survey of 2,100 female inmates, 1988