Using Evidence to Improve Policy and Programs


Sun - Fri, Jun 22 to Jun 27, 9:00am - 6:00pm


Cambridge, MA

Program Session: June 22, 2014 - June 27, 2014
Application Deadline: April 22, 2014
Program Fee: $ 6,900
Program Fee Includes: tuition, housing, curricular materials, and most meals.
Faculty Chair(s): Dan Levy, Julie Wilson

Using Evidence to Improve Policy and Programs, one of the newest Executive Education program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, addresses the challenge that managers face in identifying useful strategies for evaluating and improving program effectiveness.

Managers of government and social programs are under increasing pressure to provide evidence about the effectiveness of their programs, but what constitutes reliable and valid evidence of effectiveness?

This one-week program brings together a diverse group of accomplished peers, including leaders in government and nonprofit organizations from around the world to consider a wide range of types of evaluation (including design, process, and impact evaluations) and evaluation methods. It will pay special attention to the use of evaluation results and other type of evidence in helping managers make better decisions about their programs. Specifically, the program will explore:

  • What are the big questions managers need to ask about the effectiveness of programs in their organization?
  • How should managers decide what evidence needs to be gathered?
  • What kinds of evaluations and other forms of assessment need to be conducted?
  • Since evaluations can be expensive and time consuming, how should managers make decisions about which programs to evaluate?
  • What are the key methods to evaluate the impact of a program and when should each of them be used?
  • What role do randomized experiments play in evaluating the impact of a program?
  • What data should be collected and when?
  • Does it all have to be numbers? How can managers make sense of mixed method evaluations and integrate quantitative and qualitative information to design and implement better programs?

Answering these questions will help managers lead their organizations to design and implement more effective social programs.

The program is designed for participants who have varying levels of experience with analyzing data. The emphasis is on understanding a range of possible strategies that will allow managers to demonstrate that their programs achieve results and make good use of resources.