Executive MPA   Executive training  

When to trust the numbers: Informed data consumption

18-20 March 2024 | Executive seminar

The types of outcomes that are studied in policy research and social science are usually determined by a complex set of factors demanding controlled comparison for even correlational evaluation, let alone causal. This course introduces participants to elementary methods in quantitative analysis, highlights their promise and limitations and trains participants in the informed consumption and communication about quantitative research.

In this course, participants will not be enabled to develop and run statistical models themselves, but become qualified to evaluate reports and develop the skills required in management positions to identify flaws in research design, violations of statistical assumptions and other pitfalls that are often hidden in quantitative reports. Upon completing this course, participants will know better when – and when not – to trust the numbers.

Topics: The (sometimes flawed) practice of science; research design; descriptive statistics; statistical inference; common threats to internal and external validity; causality; communicating with data.

The course is aimed at decision-makers who work with or could benefit from working with technical colleagues and data.

This seminar is offered as part of the Executive MPA programme and in the open enrolment programme.


  • Mark Kayser , Professor of Applied Methods and Comparative Politics