HP4D5E      Half Unit
Research Design for Evaluating Health Programs and Policies

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Elisabetta De Cao OLD 1.11


This course is available on the Executive MSc in Health Economics, Outcomes and Management in Cardiovascular Sciences. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The objective of this course is to teach students how to design and critically appraise research studies evaluating policies, programmes, and interventions. 

This course will provide an overview of the principles and models of evaluation, and the role of theories, concepts, and hypotheses. In terms of research design, it will cover study design choices in light of bias, validity and other design trade-offs. The core of the course will focus on experimental and quasi-experimental designs for evaluating health interventions, programmes and policies aimed at achieving high quality care, reducing costs, and improving health outcomes. Data and measurement considerations for quantitative studies will be discussed alongside briefly touching upon qualitative methods, mixed-methods and triangulation for interpreting findings and taking a critical approach to the results of evaluation. The course will conclude with practical and ethical issues when undertaking evaluation studies.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the ST.

Given the executive nature of this course, it will be offered as an intensive, accelerated, and compressed module with a 1-week duration. 

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 project in June.

Students will receive feedback on their project report outlines. 

Indicative reading

Angrist, J. D. and Pischke, J-S. (2014) Mastering ’Metrics: The Path from Cause to Effect. Princeton University Press.

Gertler, Paul J., Sebastian Martinez, Patrick Premand, Laura B. Rawlings, and Christel M. J. Vermeersch. (2016) Impact Evaluation in Practice, second edition. Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank. doi:10.1596/978-1- 4648-0779-4. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0 IGO.

Cartwright, N. & Hardie, J. (2012). Evidence-Based Policy: A practical guide to doing it better. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

HM Treasury. 2011. The Magenta Book. Guidance for evaluation.


Research project (70%) and presentation (30%) post-summer term.

Project (70%, 2,000 words)

Group presentation (30%)

Assessment is through a project that students will undertake in small groups and write up individually (2,000 word paper), to be submitted 10 weeks after the completion of the course. Group presentation will account for the remaining 30% of the grade. 

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2017/18: Unavailable

Average class size 2017/18: Unavailable

Controlled access 2017/18: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills