POLI 495-002
Framing Public Policies
M, W 2:00–3:15pm, Hamilton 452, Spring 2013

Prof. Frank R. Baumgartner
313 Hamilton Hall, phone 962-0414
Web site: http://www.unc.edu/~fbaum/

Office hours: M, W, 3:15-5:00 pm and by appointment

Graduate Research Consultant: Jacob Smith, smithjf@live.unc.edu

Click here for the syllabus.

Click here for a research guide for how to do your term paper projects.

Click here for a basic spreadsheet you can use as you: 1) develop your key-words and test them for accuracy; 2) do the same for your frames; and 3) compile these into annual totals. The three sheets focus on these three tasks.

Readings are below.

Week 1, Wed Jan 9, Introduction and overview

Part One:  Theories of How People Think and How Policies are Framed

Week 2, Jan 14, 16 Causal Stories and Target Populations

Week 3, Jan 23 How We Differ when Thinking of Gains versus Losses

(No class on MLK day, Monday Jan 21; happy holiday)

Week 4, Jan 28, 30 Motivated Reasoning, or Why It Is Hard to Make People Change their Mind

Week 5, Feb 4, 6 Exam and Lab session

Part Two:  Examples of Policy Changes

Week 6, Feb 11, 13 Nuclear Power, Poverty

Assignment 1 due, Wednesday February 13.  In 2 single-spaced pages, explain in general terms the policy issue you are expecting to study, at least five bibliographic sources about the substance of the topic, and explain the different frames associated with it.  (Be careful, see assignment 2 below.)

Week 7, Feb 18, 20 Smoking and Gun Control

Week 8 Feb 25, 27 More on Smoking

Week 9, Mar 4, 6 Obesity, Alcohol

Assignment 2 due, Wednesday March 6.  Identify the key-words you will use to measure the prevalence of the frames you identified in your first assignment and show that they are accurate.  If you can’t measure the frames you identified in Assignment 1, then pick a new topic and re-do assignment one.  (I’m not being mean!  You have to be able to measure it, so take this into consideration when you do Assignment 1.)  This means a spreadsheet with identified frames and a test of 100 cases showing at least 80 percent “true-hits.”

(Spring Break, March 9-17)

Week 10, Mar 18, 20 An Alternative to the GDP as a Measure of Quality of Life, catch-up

Assignment 3 due, Wednesday March 20:  Generate a time-line of media or government attention to your topic and to the frames you have identified.  This should be a spreadsheet with at least 25 years of data.  Generate graphs relating to your frames showing their relative prominence over time.  Alternatively, generate codes of rival speakers in a Congressional setting debating the same issue showing how different actors emphasize different frames.  In either case, present your findings in professional looking tables and/or figures.


Week 11, Mar 25, 27 Why is Policy Hostile to Children even if Children Are Positively Framed?

Week 12, Apr 1, 3 More on Children the Consequences of Framing

Week 13, Apr 8, 10 The Death Penalty

Week 14 , Apr 15, 17 Framing as Competition: Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Lose

Term paper due, Wednesday April 17:  Draft your paper, 14-16 pages double-spaced, incorporating your own analysis based on the data you collected as well as your sources from the literature.

Week 15, Apr 22, 24 Review, discussions, complaints about the professor (optional)

Final Exam:  TBA, according to the official schedule from the registrar’s office.