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Impact Evaluation for Evidence-Based Policy in Development

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Impact Evaluation for Evidence-Based Policy in Development: date TBA


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 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 and sampling and power calculation
  • Econometric techniques for impact evaluation: Revision of basic econometrics, instrumental variables technique, propensity score matching, regression discontinuity and difference-in-difference estimation
  • Systematic reviews and meta-analysis in development
  • Replication and research ethics


Course Director

Dr Maren Duvendack

Maren has extensively worked on microfinance impact evaluations in India and Bangladesh. She is particularly interested in the link between microfinance, empowerment and reproductive health. She has more recently worked on quantitative impact evaluations for IFAD, DFAT (formerly AusAid), the World Food Programme and the Gates Foundation on a range of themes across South Asia and East Africa. Maren also completed a number of systematic reviews for DFID and for 3ie on microfinance, payments-by-results as well as on the link between government policies and income inequalities.

Maren is supported by a team of tutors drawn from the School of International Development (UEA), occasionally the Overseas Development Institute and 3ie.


Who is this course for?

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 policymaking in order to evaluate and justify continued public spending on particular programmes.


Course Requirements 

No prior knowledge or special skills are required, however you’ll have a genuine interest in learning about the topics covered.

The course is conducted in English. It is essential that you have full competence in English, both written and spoken.


Tuition Fees and Funding

£2,500 – includes all tuition, course materials, daily lunches and refreshments, and an evening networking dinner.

We offer an early bird discount of 15% for participants who apply early. Discount deadline for 2020/2021 courses to be announced. 

The International Development Centre is unable to offer scholarships to attend this course. You are expected to secure your own funding.



The course is taught at the University of East Anglia (UEA). 

UEA is an internationally renowned university on a distinctive and attractive campus just outside the historic city of Norwich.