EU490      Half Unit
Evidence and Analysis in Policy-Making

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Raluca Pahontu, CBG 6.06


This course is compulsory on the MSc in European and International Public Policy, MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Bocconi) and MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills to collect, analyse, and communicate evidence in order to evaluate policies and interventions by international organisations, the European Union or national and local governments, as well as to explore and analyse voters’ responses to such interventions. Students become familiar with research methods that will allow them to critically appraise policy interventions from the decision-making to the implementation stage as well as with the practical skills to communicate their findings professionally and effectively. The course starts by familiarising students with the principles of social science research methods and causal inference. It then covers applied policy analysis, drawing on observational and experimental approaches to evidence and discussing a policy’s effectiveness. For the final project, students are expected to demonstrate conceptual understanding and practical knowledge of the methods covered in the course.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 27.5 hours across Michaelmas Term.  This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of recorded lectures, flipped lectures (online discussion of lecture materials), and in-person (or, if a School closure demands it, online) seminars. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of the Michaelmas Term.  

Formative coursework

One formative assessment (1,000 words or equivalent worksheet/ problem set) to demonstrate conceptual understanding and practical application of a method of analysis.

Indicative reading

  • Abma, T.A. (2006). The social relations of evaluation. In Shaw, I., Greene, J., & Mark, M. (Eds.) (2006). The SAGE Handbook of evaluation. Sage: London.
  • Bryson, J. (2007). What to do when stakeholders matter. Stakeholder Identification and Analysis Techniques. In Public Management Review 6(1), pp. 21-53.
  • Chalmers, A. F. (1982). What is this thing called science? (2nd ed.) Open University Press.
  • Dunning, T. (2012). Natural Experiments in the Social Sciences – A Design-Based Approach. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Gerring, J. (2007). Case Study Research: Principles And Practices. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Gilbert, N. (2008). Researching Social Life. London: Sage.
  • Groves, R.M., F.J. Fowler, M.P. Couper, J.M. Lepkowski, E. Singer, and R. Tourangeau (2009) Survey Methodology, 2nd Edition. New York: Wiley and Sons
  • Hancké, B. (2009). Intelligent research design: a guide for beginning researchers in the social sciences. Oxford University Press.
  • Kellstedt, Paul M. and Guy D. Whitten. (2008) The Fundamentals of Political Science Research. Cambridge University Press.
  • King, G., Keohane, R. O., & Verba, S. (1994). Designing social inquiry: Scientific inference in qualitative research. Princeton university press.
  • Shaw, I., Greene, J., & Mark, M. (Eds.) (2006). The SAGE Handbook of evaluation. London: Sage.
  • Versluis, E, Van Keulen, M. and Stephenson, P. (2011). Analyzing the European Policy Process. London: Palgrave.


Project (100%, 5000 words) in the LT.

The summative assessment requires students to engage critically with the conceptual framework introduced in the course and demonstrate a good practical knowledge of the statistical software studied.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2019/20: 51

Average class size 2019/20: 51

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills