Oct 3rd 2016

JPAL101x: Evaluating Social Programs (edX)

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Understand how randomized evaluations can be used to evaluate social and development programs. Learn why evaluations matter and how they can be used to rigorously measure the social impact of development programs. This practical course will provide a thorough understanding of randomized evaluations, with pragmatic step-by-step training for conducting one’s own evaluation.

Through a combination of lectures and case studies from real randomized evaluations, the course will focus on the benefits and methods of randomization, choosing an appropriate sample size, and common threats and pitfalls to the validity of an experiment. While the course is centered around the why, how, and when of randomized evaluations, it will also impart insights on the importance of a needs assessment, measuring outcomes effectively, quality control, and monitoring methods that are useful for all kinds of evaluations.

This social impact course is designed for people from a variety of backgrounds: managers and researchers from international development organizations, foundations, governments, and non-governmental organizations from around the world, as well as trained economists looking to retool.

What you'll learn:

- Why and when rigorous evaluation of social impact is needed

- The pitfalls of common evaluation designs, and why randomization helps

- The key components of a well-designed randomized evaluation

- Alternative techniques for incorporating randomization into project design

- How to determine the appropriate sample size, measure outcomes, and manage data

- Guarding against threats that may undermine the integrity of the results

- Techniques for the analysis and interpretation of results

- How to maximize policy impact and test external validity

- The whys and hows of comparative cost-effectiveness analysis for informed policy making