This paper discusses the contributions of the 'policy cycle approach' to analyze educational policies. Formulated by Stephen Ball and Richard Bowe, such approach has been applied in different contexts as a theoretical and analytical framework to examine educational policies. This paper presents the main ideas of this approach, the debate surrounding it, and its contribution to the analysis of educational policies. Based on the five contexts of the policy cycle, namely: influence, text production, practice, outcomes and the political strategy; this paper also presents a set of questions to the trajectory analysis of educational policies or programs. It argues that this approach is a useful analytical framework that allows a critical and contextualized analysis of programs and educational policies from their formulation to their implementation in the context of practice as well as the policy effects.
Policy cycle; Educational policy; Trajectory analysis