Fall 2021 - 61209 - PA 397C - Advanced Empirical Methods for Policy Analysis

Eval Mthds for Glbl Devel

Fall 2021: Evaluation Methods for Global Development and Humanitarian Assistance - Part I (Dr. Weaver)


This seminar overviews the various methods and tools used in the design and management of programs and policies in international development and humanitarian assistance work. This course strongly emphasizes a practical and mixed methods approach to the means by which we design projects and collect, analyze and use data to understand what works and what doesn’t work in international development and humanitarian assistance. We will also examine some of the key challenges in managing evaluations at the project and organizational levels, and the ethical and analytical concerns that arise therein. 


We will begin by examining some of the key steps in project design and meta-evaluation, in order to learn how to construct projects and programs that are well informed by prior experience and “evaluable.” We will emphasize training in qualitative data collection and impact evaluation design (case studies). At the end of the course, we will also critically examine the feedback mechanisms and learning culture of agencies, and how evaluation is used (or not) within aid and humanitarian organizations for accountability and learning. The core objective of this class is to move beyond understanding how to design and conduct evaluations in theory towards managing evaluations under real world constraints. Assignments will focus on the critical assessment and application of evaluation tools and the design of an approach paper for a program or project evaluation. This class will not include any formal “problem sets” or quantitative work beyond sampling design.  


Students taking this course for PRP credit will focus on a common final assignment that will lay the foundation for work in the Spring 2022 semester. Specifically, PRP students will work on synthesis (meta) evaluation for the PRP client, Precision Agriculture for Development. The exact details on the content and structure of this evaluation will be determined over the Summer 2021. Students taking this course for non-PRP credit will be given a take-home final exam instead of the synthesis evaluation. 


Instruction Mode