PP4J4      Half Unit
Designing and Implementing Evidence-Informed Policies and Programmes

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Babken Babajanian


This course is available on the MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Columbia), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Hertie), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and NUS), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Sciences Po), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Tokyo), Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Policy. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is capped at 30 students.

Course content

The aim of this half-unit course is to help students develop knowledge, critical analysis and skills necessary for evidence-informed policy making. It will enable students to assess, analyse, interpret and use evidence to design relevant and effective interventions. The course particularly emphasises the need to recognise the complexity of economic, social, institutional and political context and incorporate contextual analysis of social relations, gender inequalities, interests and incentives of societal actors in policy design and implementation arrangements. The course will equip students with the knowledge and skills to critically appraise how government agencies, international organisations and other actors generate and utilise evidence to design and implement policies and programmes.

The course covers evidence generation and use during three main stages of the policy cycle: policy design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. It introduces theory-based approaches and examines the use of social, gender, governance and political-economy analysis to inform policy design and implementation. It discusses the role of monitoring and evaluation in producing nuanced policy-relevant evidence.

The course draws on policies and programmes in the field of social policy and social development in a global context. In seminars, students will review and critically assess policy reports and research studies of actual policies and programmes. They will scrutinise different assessment tools developed and used by government agencies and international organisations (e.g. World Bank, ADB, Inter-American Development Bank) for gathering policy relevant evidence.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 30 hours across Michaelmas Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual interactive seminars and lectures delivered as online recordings.

Formative coursework

1. Seminar presentations on assigned topics and contribution to seminar discussions.  Each student is expected to do at least one presentation.

2. A short essay answering a pre-assigned question (500 words)

3. A short individually authored policy report (1,000 words)

Indicative reading

Parkhurst, J. (2017) The Politics of Evidence, From Evidence-based Policy to the Good Governance of Evidence, Routledge: London and New York

Funnell, S. and P. Rogers (2011) Purposeful Program Theory: Effective Use of Theories of Change and Logic Models, Wiley & Sons: San Francisco.

Bacchi, C. (2009) Analyzing Policy: What's the Problem Represented to Be? Pearson Australia: Frenchs Forest, N. S. W.

Cartwright, N and J. Hardie (2012) Evidence-Based Policy: A Practical Guide to Doing It Better, Oxford University Press

Ravallion, M. (2009) Should the Randomistas Rule?  Economists' Voice, The Berkeley Electronic Press

Holmes, R. and N. Jones (2013) Gender and Social Protection in the Developing World: Beyond Mothers and Safety Nets, Zed Books: London and New York.

Fritz, V., Levy, B. and R. Ort (2014) Problem-driven Political Economy Analysis: The World Bank's Experience, Directions in Development - Public Sector Governance, World Bank: Washington, DC.


Essay (30%, 1500 words) in the MT.
Policy report (70%) in the LT.

Students will be required to complete two assignments designed to support the main learning outcomes of the course:

  1. A three-part individually authored essay (30%), in which students answer pre-assigned questions, drawing on literature and course material (500 words for each answer, maximum 1,500 words in total). This assessment will support student learning of the main debates, issues and critiques and will help consolidate their disciplinary and methodological knowledge.
  2. An individually-authored policy report (70%) drawing on relevant literature and course material (maximum 3,000 words).

This assessment will support students' ability to appraise policies and programmes; evaluate, analyse, interpret and use evidence; design analytical frameworks; prepare and present written critiques; and write policy reports.

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: School of Public Policy

Total students 2019/20: 30

Average class size 2019/20: 14

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