This five-day program on evaluating social programs will provide a thorough understanding of randomized evaluations and pragmatic step-by-step training for conducting one’s own evaluation. It will focus on the benefits and methods of randomization, choosing an appropriate sample size, and common threats and pitfalls to the validity of the experiment. While the program is centered around the why, how and when of Randomized Evaluations, it will also impart insights on the importance of a needs assessment, measuring outcomes effectively, quality control, and monitoring methods that are useful for all kinds of evaluations.
Our executive training program is designed for people from a variety of backgrounds: managers and researchers from international development organizations, foundations, governments and non-governmental organizations from around the world, as well as trained economists looking to retool.
Specifically, the following key questions and concepts will be covered:
- Why and when is a rigorous evaluation of social impact needed?
- The common pitfalls of evaluations, and why does randomization help.
- The key components of a good randomized evaluation design?
- Alternative techniques for incorporating randomization into project design
- How do you determine the appropriate sample size, measure outcomes, and manage data?
- Guarding against threats that may undermine the integrity of the results
- Techniques for the analysis and interpretation of results
- How to maximize policy impact and test external validity
The program will achieve these goals through a diverse set of integrated teaching methods. Expert researchers will provide both theoretical and example-based classes complemented by group work where participants can apply key concepts to real world examples. By examining both successful and problematic evaluations, participants will better understand the significance of various specific details of randomized evaluations. Furthermore, the program will offer extensive opportunities to apply these ideas ensuring that participants will leave with the knowledge, experience, and confidence necessary to conduct their own randomized evaluations.
The J-PAL Training Course is held annually in several locations worldwide. In 2011, courses were held in Cambridge (USA), Cape Town (South Africa), Mexico City (Mexico), Brussels (Belgium), Buenos Aires (Argentina), and Lahore (Pakistan).