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The real dependent variable problem: the limitations qualitative analysis in comparative policy studies. (2017)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. 2017. The real dependent variable problem: the limitations qualitative analysis in comparative policy studies. Social policy and administration [online], 52(1), pages 216-228. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12308

Comparative public policy relies heavily on processing quantitative data, typically done by looking for the relationship between variables or by grouping empirical data into categories. In methodological terms, comparative data commonly deal with nat... Read More about The real dependent variable problem: the limitations qualitative analysis in comparative policy studies..

Economics as practical wisdom. (2016)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. 2016. Economics as practical wisdom. Real-world economics review [online], 75, pages 113-125. Available from: http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue75/Spicker75.pdf

The discipline of economics has been represented as deductive and theoretical, deductive and empirical, and inductive and empirical. All of these approaches have been subject to withering criticism in other social sciences: their weaknesses are theor... Read More about Economics as practical wisdom..

The devolution of social security benefits in Scotland: the Smith Commission. (2015)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. 2015. The devolution of social security benefits in Scotland: the Smith Commission. Journal of poverty and social justice [online], 23(1), pages 17-28. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1332/175982715X14226074788880

The United Kingdom is a unitary state, and social security benefits are some of the most centralised services in it. The powers of the Scottish Parliament in relation to benefits have been heavily restricted, to the point where they have fewer formal... Read More about The devolution of social security benefits in Scotland: the Smith Commission..

Policy translation: a reply. (2015)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. 2016. Policy translation: a reply. Global discourse: an interdisciplinary journal of current affairs and applied contemporary thought [online], 6(1-2), pages 116-118. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1080/23269995.2015.1004251

The purpose of this paper is explained as being to enhance the analysis of processes of movement of ideas between multiple actors and in the process of implementation of social policies. The core argument made by Latour is, as I read it, that network... Read More about Policy translation: a reply..

Cohesion, exclusion and social quality. (2014)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. 2014. Cohesion, exclusion and social quality. International journal of social quality [online], 4(1), pages 95-107. Available from: https://doi.org/10.3167/IJSQ.2014.040107

The concept of social quality has been operationalized in terms of four component dimensions: social inclustion, social cohesion, socio-economic security and social empowerment. This article argues that inclusion and cohesion are aspects of the same... Read More about Cohesion, exclusion and social quality..

Seven principles of public life: time to rethink. (2013)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. 2014. Seven principles of public life: time to rethink. Public money and management [online], 34(1), pages 11-18. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1080/09540962.2014.865927

The Seven Principles of Public Life, developed by the Nolan Committee, claim to be concerned with the development of an ethical culture, but they have been imposed by central authority. The principles are muddled and unclear, but beyond that they hav... Read More about Seven principles of public life: time to rethink..

Personalisation falls short. (2012)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. 2013. Personalisation falls short. British journal of social work [online], 43(7), pages 1259-1275. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcs063

Personalisation offers individualised treatment in circumstances where markets do not operate. Personalisation is described variously as a process involving an individualised assessment and response, the expression of individual preferences and choic... Read More about Personalisation falls short..

Leadership: a perniciously vague concept. (2012)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. 2012. Leadership: a perniciously vague concept. International journal of public sector management [online], 25(1), pages 34-47. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1108/09513551211200276

Purpose “ Despite the vast amount of literature covering the concept of leadership, it remains contentious, under-conceptualised and often uncritical. The purpose of this paper is to question the validity of the concept and dispute its application. D... Read More about Leadership: a perniciously vague concept..

Generalisation and phronesis: rethinking the methodology of social policy. (2010)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. 2011. Generalisation and phronesis: rethinking the methodology of social policy. Journal of social policy [online], 40(1), pages 1-19. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047279410000334

Social policy research often depends on the application of generalisations from social science. Questions like "what works?" assume that general principles can be translated from specific examples into other contexts. Pawson and Tilley argue that eff... Read More about Generalisation and phronesis: rethinking the methodology of social policy..

The nature of a public service. (2009)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. 2009. The nature of a public service. International journal of public administration [online], 32(11), pages 970-991. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1080/01900690903050927

Public services have been misunderstood. They are not simply services in the public sector, they are not necessarily there because of market failure, and they cannot be analysed by the same criteria as market-based provision. They have four defining... Read More about The nature of a public service..

What is a priority? (2009)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. 2009. What is a priority? Journal of health services research and policy [online], 14(2), pages 112-116. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1258/jhsrp.2008.008056

What does it mean to say that something is a priority? Priority setting is used to balance competing claims for resources, but the nature of the exercise is ambiguous. The priorities which are claimed might be for time, resources, process, rights or... Read More about What is a priority?.

The ethics of policy research. (2007)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. 2007. The ethics of policy research. Evidence and policy: a journal of research, debate and practice [online], 3(1), pages 99-118. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1332/174426407779702148

Codes of ethics governing research in social science have tended to focus on the rights of participants in research. This focus is too narrow to be an effective guide for ethical policy research. Some typical problems concern the development of organ... Read More about The ethics of policy research..

Five types of complexity. (2005)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. 2005. Five types of complexity. Benefits, 13(1), pages 5-9.

This article describes five types of complexity in the operation of social security benefits. The first is intrinsic complexity: some benefits are complex in their concept, structure or operation. The second is extrinsic: systems become complicated w... Read More about Five types of complexity..

Developing indicators: issues in the use of quantitative data about poverty. (2004)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. 2004. Developing indicators: issues in the use of quantitative data about poverty. Policy and politics [online], 32(4), pages 431-440. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1332/0305573042009499

Despite the familiarity bred by the routine use of indicators in public services, many commentators are vague about what indicators mean and how they should be used. Several confuse indicators with measurement. This paper argues that precise and accu... Read More about Developing indicators: issues in the use of quantitative data about poverty..

Matching services to needs in the health care of elderly people. (1997)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. and HANSLIP, J. 1997. Matching services to needs in the health care of elderly people. Health services management research, 10(1-2), pages 113-120. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1177/095148489701000112

This paper is based on the results of a postal enquiry to health care professionals working in the care of elderly people in a Scottish Health Board. Responses fall into three main categories. The first refers to issues of process, where lack of info... Read More about Matching services to needs in the health care of elderly people..

Perceived mismatches between needs and services in the health care of elderly people. (1994)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. and HANSLIP, J. 1994. Perceived mismatches between needs and services in the health care of elderly people. Scottish medical journal [online], 39(6), pages 172-174. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1177/003693309403900606

A postal enquiry to professionals involved in service delivery points to a number of problems in the process of referring elderly people appropriately. These problems related to lack of choice and constrained options, rather than mis-referral through... Read More about Perceived mismatches between needs and services in the health care of elderly people..

Understanding particularism. (1994)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. 1994. Understanding particularism. Critical social policy [online], 13(39), pages 5-20. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1177/026101839401303901

Particularism refers to the idea that different moral standards apply to different people. This view is inherently discriminatory. The universal application of moral principles has been challenged in 'communitarian' critiques, which argue that moral... Read More about Understanding particularism..

Planning for the needs of people with dementia. (1992)
Journal Article
SPICKER, P. and GORDON, D. 1992. Planning for the needs of people with dementia. Scottish medical journal [online], 37(2), pages 38-39. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1177/003693309203700203

Provision for people with dementia requires a complex mix of different kinds of services, primarily concerned with maintenance and support rather than treatment. In principle, planning for their needs begins with assessment of the problems, a review... Read More about Planning for the needs of people with dementia..