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Evidence-based policy

Vak 2014-2015

Admission requirements

Only students of the MSc Crisis and Security Management can take this course.
A minimum of 8 students is required. Maximum of 30 students (first come first served bases).


The relationship between research and politics has always been a challenging one. Policy makers decide on a daily basis, led by focus events, political pressures and voters turn-out. Scientific results often stay unused, not being any useful in policy decision making. From the ‘80 the ‘New Public Management’ and the ‘What works’ approaches encouraged policy makers and practitioners to make rational choices about programs based on scientific research. The international ‘Campbell Collaboration’ was set up to increase the influence of research on policy decisions or, in a manner of speaking, to put systematic research evidence at the center stage in policy. In times of crisis, policy programs have to be ‘evidence-based’ (proven effective) to be financed by the government. The fact that scientific evaluation research of these programs has to be ‘neutral’ is a big challenge. The research has to be experimental designed according to the golden standard of the ‘Maryland Scientific Methods Scale’.

This course will explore basic concepts of evidence-based policing, namely meta-analyses, systematic review & randomized control trial, not in a strictly methodological way, but rather in a conceptual way discussing actual problems on the relationship between science and policy. In second order we will analyze and evaluate empirical experimental research in governance of security. A body of literature is available on experimental evaluations of developmental prevention programs and many systematic reviews and meta-analyses have summarized knowledge about their effectiveness. As well advantages, as critics on the stream of ‘evidence-based policing’ will be discussed.

This course will also provide insights in governmental mechanisms of decision-making on programs, financing only programs that have proven to be effective by a special “Commission on Credits for programs” in the domain of Law Enforcement and Prevention.

Learning objectives

The learning objectives of the course are:
1. Students will gain theoretical insights in different models of the relationship between science and research and in the concepts of ‘evidence-based policy’
2. Students will develop a critical understanding of empirical experimental research
3. Students will develop analytical and critical writing skills by writing an evaluation paper on a specific policy program following the requirements of the “Commission on Credits for Programs”
4. Students will be able to present their findings in an excellent way



Methods of instruction

This course consists of lectures, self study and a presentation.

Study load

140 hours

Hours required for lectures and presentation: 7 weeks X 3 hours/week = 21
Self-study hours: 119 hours

Method of assessment

The final grade consists of two mandatory assignments:
(1) Group assignment (paper and presentation) (20%) (grades equal for all group members)
(2) An individual evaluation policy paper (80%).

The grade for each of the two exam-forms (20/80) has to be at least 5.5. No compensation is provided. The weighted average of these two assignments must be at least 5.5.


Yes, Blackboard will be available 1 week before the first lecture


A list of mandatory reading will be available on Blackboard


Registration for every course and exam in USIS is mandatory. For courses, registration is possible from four weeks up to three days before the start of the course.
For exams, registration is possible from four weeks up to ten days before the date of the examination.


E. Devroe (office B207).
Office hours: Monday-Thursday 09-18 h