The two groups most engaged in making policy are policy advocates and policy analysts. Policy advocates are people who feel strongly enough about something to work toward changing public policy to fix it. Policy analysts, on the other hand, aim for impartiality. Their role is to assess potential policies and predict their outcomes. Although they are in theory unbiased, their findings often reflect specific political leanings.

The public policy process has four major phases: identifying the problem, setting the agenda, implementing the policy, and evaluating the results. The process is a cycle, because the evaluation stage should feed back into the earlier stages, informing future decisions about the policy.