International Higher Education (EDU524)

Structure of Your Policy Paper


Prepare a policy paper of around 4000+ words to examine an aspect of policy (subject chosen in negotiation with the module coordinator).   This work will constitute 60% of the final grade.

Your policy paper can be based on, but not restricted to, one of the following:

  • A critique of a policy development procedure or of the development of a specific policy in a university, institution, or Ministry
  • A critical analysis of an educational policy or a 5-year development plan;
  • The establishment of a consultative procedure for policy development in an educational institution (e.g., a logical frame work and capability assessment),
  • An analysis and/or critique of a policy issue (theory or observable policy) in terms of attention to and congruence with culturally relevant variables
  • The partnership or collaborative engagement process of an institution or ministry
  • The evaluation of an aspect of policy in terms of the student’s own practice or experience
  • The proposal, presentation, expansion and analysis of a development plan with particular reference to policy issues
  • Any other relevant policy topic as negotiated with the module coordinator

All should be underpinned by relevant reading on theoretical and political analyses of policy, and, where possible, by appropriate observation (schools, institutions, ministries). It should be based on a defined context; not general analysis of theories and approaches of policy (in a vacuum).

Note that it is essential to understand what the task is and what the accompanying requirements are. The length or word count of the paper can be 10% above or below the recommended word count.

Note also that your paper can be structured according to your personal preference provided the key elements such as the introduction, overview of the context, identification and analysis of the policy and conclusion are amply covered and coherently presented.


Where can I find a policy document or relevant materials?

You can find a policy document or a research report/article on policy development, implementation, evaluation from a variety of sources:

– University/Institutional Documents: Range of policy documents are often available online, particularly Internationalisation Strategy Reports.

– Review reports and analysis on current trends and activity in international higher education.

– Education policy documents from the Ministry of Education or its departments, District Education office or any relevant body in the education sector (may be obtained from their websites).  Relevant to countries around the world

– The University library/other libraries: University library has a wide range of academic and professional journals which may have reports of examples of educational policy implementation and evaluation which you can access online. See website below:

– Other libraries: If you have access to other libraries near you, you may be able to find journal articles or research reports for the activity.

– The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ): This website holds a wide range of professional and academic journals that can be accessed free online. It is possible for you to find research articles that are relevant to your specialty or area of interest.

Date for Submission:  December 2018

How should I structure my scholarly paper?

Note that the scholarly paper can be approached differently once the key components are amply covered; however, the following is a suggested structure that can help you to work through your paper:

  1. Basic information: name/student ID; Title of the topic including author(s)
  2. Introduction: What is your paper about? What is the context? How is it structured? Your introduction should be a broad statement of your scholarly paper which should include the background and context of the paper, clearly stating the questions/aim/objective and rationale or justification for your choice of document, activity or approach for analysis. What aspect of International Higher education policy does your paper focus on? The introduction should also provide a roadmap for your paper; mentioning the main ideas and how the overall paper is structured.
  3. Body: The body of your paper can be divided into several sections depending on whether it is a policy document or an activity. If it is a policy document, it can be divided according to the sections in the document, e.g. Aims/Objectives/Learning Outcomes, content and each aspect analysed using appropriate theories and concepts in educational policy to inform your analysis and discussion. The body of your assignment should identify and critically discuss the main perspective, concepts and/or theoretical underpinnings of the policy document or activity aided by your reading and understanding of the approaches and perspectives we have been discussing in the module.

The section should also show clear evidence that you strongly understand the current knowledge and debates relevant to concepts and approaches in International Higher Education policy development. You need to show informed understanding of the perspectives/approaches used in your chosen policy/approach and show how these are linked to the debate. You may develop a set of key questions to guide the coverage of this section, for example: What are the key components of the approach? What are the conceptual underpinning? Which approach or theory is used? Is this approach appropriate? What alternative approaches could be used and why? Etc.

  1. Discussion: This section requires a reflective and critical examination/analysis of the appropriateness of the approaches and perspectives used in each of the aspects of the document or activity drawing on your own experience, literature and other authentic and verifiable sources and should be appropriately referenced (both in-text and list of references). Your critical examination should conclude with taking a position/stand/view about the entire policy document or approach which may include agreeing, challenging, proposing etc based on evidence drawn from your own experience and authentic sources.
  2. Overall Presentation, Referencing and Written Style: Has my paper adhered to the recommended presentation format and adequately referenced using appropriate referencing style (both in-text and list of references)? Clarity and appropriate structuring of the paper: identifies context, aims, objectives, rationale etc. Paper should be correctly referenced (both in-text and list of references) using appropriate referencing style consistently across the paper as well as effectively communicated using suitable concepts and terminologies.