Elizabeth Shanahan, Ph.D.


Montana State University Dept Pol Sci

Phone: 4065995665

Address: Wilson Hall, 2-141, P.O. Box 172240

City: Bozeman, Montana - 59717

Country: United States

Research Interests

Environmental Policy

Political Communication

Public Policy

Text as Data

Health Politics and Policy

Natural Hazard

Risk Communication

Policy Narratives

Public Values Perceptions

Public Policy Process

Countries of Interest


United States

My Research:

As one of the architects of the Narrative Policy Framework, my research focuses on the role of narratives in the policy process. How do narratives influence people's opinions on policy? How do narratives shape the policy terrain? What are the macro-level narratives that go unquestionned? I conduct experiments to understand the mechansisms of how narratives work. I also conduct (very labor intensive) coding of policy debates to understand policy intractability. Currently, I am working in the area of hazard preparation/risk communication (flooding and virus spillover). On the side, I am involved in Montana election work--surveying to understadn how people may vote in the 2018 mid-term election. We will conduct a post-election survey as well. 


Journal Articles:

(2018) How to Conduct a Narrative Policy Framework Study, Social Science Journal

The Narrative Policy Framework has a growing number of researchers seeking to apply the framework in policy process scholarship. This article is intended to assist those interested in conducting an NPF study that is ‘clear enough to be wrong’ (Sabatier, 2000). While graduate programs offer critical methodological training, this article focuses on the specific application of the NPF to research inquiries about the role of policy narratives in the policy process. We approach our discussion by examining various decisions in the research process and include a detailed discussion of specifying the model and obtaining narrative data. We also point out areas for further investigation.

Book Chapters:

(2017) The Narrative Policy Framework, Westview Press

This chapter in the Theories of the Policy Process is the current theorizing about the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF). The chapter details assumptions of the NPF that drive the NPF's philosophy of narrative science: a social constructivist ontology with an objective epistemology. The chapter examines how the NPF theorizes narratives operating at the micro, meso, and macro levels. The chapter also includes extant NPF studies at these levels of analysis. Finally, there is a section addressing the import of comparative work and how the NPF can be used therein.