Executive MPA   Executive training  

When to trust the numbers: Informed data consumption

20-22 March 2023 | Executive seminar

The types of social outcomes that are studied in policy research, as well as in public and non-profit administration, are usually determined by a complex set of factors. It is consequently difficult to understand the effect of a given policy or change in a specific factor on outcomes and the conditions under which estimated effects can be considered causal. Experimental scientists solve this problem with careful laboratory controls and randomisation. Most policy analysts have neither the luxury of randomisation nor a controlled laboratory setting, so must analyse pre-existing observational data subject to confounding with other variables. When common statistical tools such as multiple are misapplied or research designs are flawed, results can be biased and/or inefficient.

This course trains participants in recognising the proper use and abuse of basic methods and design in quantitative research. It also briefly introduces participants to new developments and methods in the social sciences as well as their promise and drawbacks.

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