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Ian Manners, photo.

Ian Manners


Ian Manners, photo.

Single Policy Study : Three Variations in Design


  • Annica Kronsell
  • Ian Manners


  • Kennet Lynggaard
  • Ian Manners
  • Karl Löfgren

Summary, in English

Single policy studies are the most common form of EU research. They are widely used to understand the role of the EU in a wide variety of sectors, together with its development over time, and often offer public policy prescriptions. The main aim of this chapter is to discuss the relevance of single policy studies in EU research and give examples of how such research can be carried out and designed. It begins by discussing single policy studies in terms of their potential, but also their weakness and limitations. One clear advantage is that a single policy study entails a choice of method that is not associated with a specific perspective, framework or theory but can be used broadly, for example within rationalist, process oriented, constructivist and critical frameworks (Bacchi, 1999; Hajer and Wagenaar, 2003; Sabatier, 2007). It is not locked into or associated with a specific perspective or theory. After a brief presentation and problematisation of the single policy study as a method in EU research, the chapter will review three different research designs that study different single policies: EU environmental policy, the biofuels directive and the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The examples are illustrative of how policy study can be designed using three different theoretical approaches in the analysis: multiple streams approach to policy making, comparative hypothesis testing and feminist institutional theory. While there are multiple ways to design a policy study, how it is done is determined by the research question, the perspective and the theoretical approach employed.


  • Department of Political Science
  • BECC: Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate

Publishing year







Research Methods in European Union Studies

Document type

Book chapter


Palgrave Macmillan


  • Political Science


  • European Union
  • European integration
  • research methods
  • policy study
  • qualitative comparative analysis
  • single policy




  • ISBN: 978-1-137-31696-7
  • ISBN: 978-0-230-36305-2