The policy sciences are an approach to understanding and solving problems.
Whether the problems are local, regional, international, or planetary, the policy sciences provide an integrated and comprehensive set of procedures for addressing them in ways that help to clarify and secure the common interest. Helping people make better decisions is the central objective of the policy sciences, and the fundamental goal is to foster a commonwealth of human dignity for all.
The policy sciences draw on and contribute to all fields of knowledge.
The emphasis is on comprehending problems in context in order to develop recommendations that are both realistic and desirable. The content and procedures of many disciplines may be brought constructively to bear on efforts to achieve such results. In this spirit, the policy sciences do not privilege any discipline.
The variety of problems and issues to which the policy sciences have been applied is vast.
These include local, national, and international questions of governance and development; the achievement of human rights in all contexts; natural resources policy and management; issues of scientific leadership and science policy in general; the impact of intellectuals on public order; the processes of selecting policymakers and decision makers; improving communication, health, and education at all levels; and so on. (References to the literature that reports on these studies are found in the Library section of this site.) Today, a growing number of people across academic disciplines, professions, and in civic life are finding that the policy sciences offer a useful way to deal effectively with whatever problems they confront.
The term "Policy Sciences" was coined by Harold D. Lasswell.
In collaboration with many colleagues, in particular Myres S. McDougal, he developed the integrative approach to solving problems and making decisions with which this site is concerned and to which it is dedicated. Lasswell and McDougal were prolific writers, and a sampling of their key publications is listed in the Library section of this site. In addition to the Policy Sciences Library, this site includes The Policy Sciences Center, Inc., a non-profit, public foundation established in 1948; the journal, Policy Sciences, which began publication in 1970; and the Society for the Policy Sciences, a professional association founded in 1995. Each of these is an institutional expression of the policy sciences movement and each is designed, in its own way, to contribute to fostering and achieving a commonwealth of human dignity for all.