Aim and structure of the course

For both academic scholars and practitioners of public policy skillful processing of information is a key qualification. Methodological and analytical knowledge is of paramount importance to evaluate policies on basis of available data: reports, expert opinions, descriptive or inferential statistics etc. This course introduces students to the basics of research design, and to the quantitative and qualitative methods that can be used in addressing policy-relevant research questions. The course has two major goals: 1) To enhance students’ ‘passive’ literacy of quantitative research methods. In this respect students will learn how to evaluate the adequacy of a given research method for a given research question. They will learn how to judge the quality of reports and academic studies on basis of typical flaws different research techniques may have. 2) To give students active skills and to show them how to apply techniques to original policy studies of their own. The class will give an overview of issues related to measurement, causal inference, quasi-experimental research, sampling and survey research, interviewing and other qualitative methods of data collection, as well as practical skills in applying statistics.