HP4D5E      Half Unit
Research Design for Evaluating Health Programs and Policies

This information is for the 2019/20 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 work in small groups in class and prepare a proposal for evaluating a health policy or program. They will then individually write the research proposal in a schematic way presenting a template with a brief description of the content. The formative will be submitted and feedback given in ST.


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 (100%) post-summer term.

Project (100%, 2500 words)

Academic research proposal for evaluating the health policy or program. This should be in depth and technical and written for an expert in the methods you have chosen. You should choose one of the methods that you have learned this week.

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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