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Impact Evaluation for Evidence-Based Policy in Development short course

27 March –  7 April 2017, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK


It has become increasingly important to use ‘Evidence-Based’ criteria to decide what kind of programmes work, how, for whom, in what circumstances and at what cost. This course aims to enable participants to understand, critique and make effective use of such evidence.

Much evidence is quantitative in nature and this course aims to enable participants to understand, critique and make effective use of such evidence.

While the course focuses on issues of attribution – tracing out cause and effect – and quantification, it is also concerned with the context, criteria and limitations of evidence-based quantitative evaluations.

The course therefore aims to address an important prerequisite for incorporating impact evaluation (IE) into programme design: a theoretical and practical understanding of IE approaches to enable selection of appropriate methodologies, coupled with careful appraisal of the resulting evidence. Thus, participants will be introduced to current quantitative as well as qualitative evaluation techniques for impact evaluation and gain critical understanding of the roles they can play in the design and assessment of public policy and development interventions.

Course Content

Teaching will consist of interactive lectures, group discussions and several worked-through examples (which involves working in a computer lab using STATA) where participants will analyse data from established IE examples that are drawn from development literature and elsewhere.

The main areas of course content include:

– Theories and practices of evaluation in public policy

– The evaluation problem: Attribution, selection and placement biases

– Evaluation research designs

  • Randomised control trials
  • Quasi-experimental designs
  • Qualitative evaluation designs
  • Sampling and power calculation

– Econometric techniques for impact evaluation

  • Revision of basic econometrics
  • Instrumental variables technique
  • Propensity score matching
  • Regression discontinuity
  • Difference-in-difference estimation

– Systematic reviews and meta-analysis in development

– Replication and research ethics. 

Target Audience

Early and mid-level professionals, postgraduate students and academics with interests in or working with international agencies, governments, think-tanks, NGOs and other donor organisations. Anyone whose work requires them to understand the methods used in evidence-based policy making in order to evaluate and justify continued public spending on particular programmes.

Course Fee

£2,500 – includes all tuition, daily lunches and refreshments.

Course Requirements

A working knowledge of basic statistics. At the application stage we will provide a self-assessment test for you to judge your level of statistical skills. The course includes a brief revision of statistics up to multiple linear regression. The course is conducted in English. Full competence in English, written and spoken is an essential requirement.

Teaching Team

The course is directed by Dr Maren Duvendack and Dr Richard Palmer-Jones. They are supported by a team of tutors drawn from the School of International Development, UEA, the Overseas Development Institute and 3ie. Regular contributors to the course include Ben D'Exelle, Bereket Kebede,

Further information

If you have any further questions or would like to apply for the course please email the training office on