EU490      Half Unit
Evidence and Analysis in Policy-Making

This information is for the 2021/22 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 on the MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe, MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe (LSE & Sciences Po), MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in International Migration and Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Political Economy of Europe, MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in The Global Political Economy of China and Europe (LSE and Fudan). 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 lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 25 hours across Michaelmas Term. The teaching will be delivered this year in an online format (or if possible, through a combination of online and on-campus formats). This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of 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.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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 2020/21: 52

Average class size 2020/21: 16

Controlled access 2020/21: 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