Agenda Setting and Policy Development, Higher Education

  • Jana Bacevic
  • Terhi NokkalaEmail author
Living reference work entry



The capacity of an actor to define or influence issues on the public agenda by selecting issues seen as important or relevant or by shaping the way these issues are framed, discussed, and interpreted.


Agenda setting is one of the key concepts in the critical or interpretative approaches in the study of policy development. Developed in response to positivist paradigms, which saw policies as largely technical solutions to objectively existing problems, critical or interpretive analysis emphasizes the constructed, contingent, and processual nature of policies, in particular the role of differently positioned actors in bringing specific issues to the fore (Fischer 2003). In this sense, the use of agenda setting in the research on higher education policy is fundamentally related to the questions of political power and influence and thus to the relationship between longer-term structural change...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Finnish Institute for Educational ResearchUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Alberto Amaral
    • 1
  • António Magalhães
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.CIPESUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Faculty of Psychology and Education SciencesUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Centre for Research in Higher Education Policies (CIPES)PortoPortugal