API-206: Fundamentals of Program and Policy Evaluation

Semester: Spring

Credit: 1.0

Syllabus: Click here for syllabus


Day Time Location
First Day 1/27
Meet Day T/Th 8:40 AM - 10:00 AM STARR
Review F 8:40 AM - 10:00 AM L140


Program and policy evaluation aims to determine whether a particular program, regulation, or policy is achieving its objectives by (1) tracking implementation quality and (2) ascertaining whether there was a causal impact, either intended or unintended. This course provides the basic evaluation tools and understanding necessary for students to become critical consumers and effective users of evaluations, thereby building higher quality programs and policies. Topics covered include reasons for and uses of evaluations; evaluation design; comparisons of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method approaches; practical challenges in data collection and analysis; estimation of program impacts; selection and management of researchers and research agencies; dissemination of findings; and integration of findings into policy and organizational strategy. Through in-class exercises, case studies, and assignments, students will practice evaluation methods and will study the quality of evaluations for a variety of programs and policy instruments. Examples will be drawn from a mix of U.S. social policy and international development topics.

The course is intended for students who are familiar with the basic concepts of statistical testing and applied regression analysis. While methodologically less advanced than API-208, this course is not appropriate for students with no background in basic statistical techniques. No calculus is used and knowledge of STATA is not required.


Please note that this course will be piloting the Harvard University Canvas course page system during the Spring 2015 term.






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