Amanda Wolf

Dr Amanda Wolf profile picture

Academic Programme Leader and Doctoral Programmes Director School of Government


  • AB, Philosophy (Boston College), 1979
  • MPM (University of Maryland), 1990
  • PhD (University of Maryland), 1995.

Research interests

  • Methodologies for policy research and analysis;
  • Intersubjective wellbeing;
  • Policy experimentation;
  • Single-case studies;
  • Q Methodology.


One of the primary challenges facing policy makers is to work effectively with diverse information, from the individual to the aggregate, drawing lessons from one time and place for application in another. Every policy challenge is unique, as is every person, family, event. Accordingly, Amanda brings an interdisciplinary scholarly disposition to investigations of philosophical, environmental, and broader social topics with a common emphasis on the concepts and reasoning entailed in learning from a specific situation. Amanda is an expert in Q methodology, an approach developed by the British physicist/psychologist William Stephenson (1902-1989), which is essentially a tool for the study of subjective communicability. She edited the Q methodology journal, Operant Subjectivity: The International Journal of Q Methodology, from 2005 to 2013. Prior to arriving in New Zealand in 1994, Amanda was a small business owner, a food policy analyst at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington DC, and a negotiation researcher at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, outside Vienna, Austria. She has spent time as a visiting researcher at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Jacobs University, Bremen.


Peer-reviewed journal articles

  • Wolf, A. (2018). Teaching complexity: The limits of evidence and the ‘prospective’ case study. Complexity, Governance & Networks 4(1), 92–102.
  • Baehler, K., and Wolf, A. (2018). Approaches to transferable learning in comparative policy analysis and practice. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 20(4), pp. 345–353.Doi: 10.1080/13876988.2017.1409942
  • Wolf, A., and Baehler, K., (2018). Learning transferable lessons from single cases in comparative policy analysis. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 20(4), pp. 420–434.Doi: 10.1080/13876988.2017.1399578
  • Wolf, A. (2016). Between-case dialogue: Public engagement in the second-person voice. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 6(3), 606–616. 10.1007/s13412-015-0296-y.
  • Wolf, A. (2013). Wellbeing for public policy: Roles for Q methodology. Operant Subjectivity: The International Journal of Q Methodology, 36, 203–226.
  • Eppel, E. & Wolf, A. (2012). Implementing Better Public Services: Policy Quarterly 8 (3), 41–48.
  • Wolf, A. (with Good, J. M. M., Brown, S. R., Cuppen, E. H. W. J., Ockwell, D., & Watts, S.). (2011). Q methodology and its applications: Reflections on theory. Operant Subjectivity: The International Journal of Q Methodology 35, 48–71.
  • Wolf, A. (2010). Subjectivity in Q methodology. Journal of Human Subjectivity 8 (2), 55–72.
  • Wolf, A. (2010). Many minds, common sense and genetically modified food: A role for Q methodology. East Asian Science Technology and Society: an International Journal 4 (4), 565–583.
  • Wolf, A. (2010). Orientations to academic workloads at department level. Educational Management, Administration and Leadership, 38 (2), 246–262.

Scholarly books

  • Boston, J., Callister, P. & Wolf, A. (2006). The policy implications of diversity. Wellington: Institute of Policy Studies.
  • Wolf, A. (1997/2014). Quotas in international environmental agreements. London: Earthscan.

Book chapters

  • Wolf, A. (2018). Results targets in New Zealand Policy. In Baehler, K. (Senior Ed.). The oxford international handbook of public administration for social policy: Promising practices and emerging challenges.
  • Wolf, A. (2017). Information requirements: Understanding the social investment feedback loop. In J. Boston & D. Gill (Eds.), Social Investment: A New Zealand policy experiment (pp. 206–224). Wellington: Bridget Williams Books.
  • Eppel, E., Turner, D., & Wolf A. (2011). Complex policy implementation: The role of experimentation and learning. In B. Ryan & D. Gill (Eds.), Future State: Directions for public management in New Zealand (pp. 182-212). Wellington: Victoria University Press.
  • Wolf, A. (2010). Subjektivitet i Q-metodologi [Subjectivity in Q methodology]. In A. A. Thorsen & E. Allgood (Eds.), Q-metodologi – en velegnet måte å utforske subjektivitet [Q-methodology: A suitable way to explore subjectivity], (pp. 23–37), Trondheim (Norway): Tapir Akademisk Forlag.
  • Wolf, A., Turner, D., & Toms, K. (2009). Emerging ethical perspectives in evaluation. In D. Mertens & P. Ginsberg (Eds.), Handbook of social research ethics, (pp. 170–183), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Published proceedings

  • Wolf, A. (2018). The policy learner’s gaze: Between the mirror and the horizon. Proceedings: International Public Policy Association, International Workshops, 26–28 June, Pittsburgh.
  • Wolf, A. (2017). Seeing ahead – relationally. Proceedings: 3rd International Conference on Public Policy, 28–30 June, Singapore.
  • Wolf, A. (2013). Readiness and persuasion in transformative learning for sustainable responses to climate change. Proceedings: Transformation in a Changing Climate, pp. 227– 236. Olso, University of Oslo, Trykket, 19–21 June. ISBN: 978-82-570-2001-9
  • Lawrence, J., Wolf, A., & Reisinger, A. (2013). Institutional transformation in a devolved governance system: Possibilities and limits. Proceedings: Transformation in a Changing Climate, pp. 62– 71. Olso, University of Oslo, Trykket, 19–21 June. ISBN: 978-82-570-2001-9
  • Eppel, E. A. & Wolf, A. M. (2012). Supporting entrepreneurship through risk management: Two New Zealand cases, Contradictions in Public Management: Managing in volatile times, International Research Society for Public Management, XVI Conference, Rome: 11–13 April.
  • Wolf A. (2011). Weaving the discussion threads together. In R. Nottage (Ed.), Degrees of possibility: Igniting social knowledge around climate change, (pp.51–52). Wellington: New Zealand Climate Change Centre.

Written cases with instructional material

  • Wolf, A., & Peace, R. (2017). Understanding Q-methodology data abductively: An ideal social science institution. SAGE Research Methods Cases [online]. London: Sage. Doi:
  • Wolf, A. (2017). Q Methodology to inform policy: Ideas for reaching girls through healthy-eating social-marketing campaigns. SAGE Research Methods Cases [online]. London: Sage.
  • Wolf, Amanda (2014). The interview in Q methodology: Readiness to adopt sustainable responses to climate change. SAGE Research Methods Cases [online]. London: Sage. DOI: