nl en

Public Policy Analysis: Evidence Based Policy and Evaluation




Admissions requirements

  • Academic Writing or an equivalent course

  • Foundations of Research Design or Quantitative Research Methods

  • Institutions of Governance and Development or Comparative Politics


The idea of using evidence to inform policy has reached its highest level of activity during the recent decades. The increased complexity of policy making, given the wickedness of many policy issues, the push for more democratically legitimate policy making, and demands for more effectiveness, efficiency and economy in the aftermath of the financial crisis, have fueled the need for governments to know what works best for whom in which circumstances.

In this course, we investigate the role that evidence, and policy evaluations in particular, play in present day policy making. We consider what “evidence based” means in applied policy contexts, discuss the challenges policy makers face to translate evidence in concrete policy measures, and study the methodological difficulties in evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of government interventions. Do policy makers learn from the past; what is the actual impact of evaluations on policies, and what impedes the implementation of policy changes? These are the core questions that we will address in this course.

To fully understand the potential and challenges of policy evaluations and evidence based policy, the course also entails a methodological and hands-on component. Students will be challenged to develop their own evaluation tender, in response to a call for evaluators of an (international or Dutch) organization.

Course objectives

Upon completion of the course, students should:

  • be able to identify the most appropriate methods to evaluate specific evaluation questions

  • be able to describe the influence of existing evaluation data and other expert evidence on certain policy problems

  • be capable to design an evaluation tender


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Class sessions will be primarily structured in a seminar format, with presentations by the instructor when necessary. Interactive group work is an integral part of the course.


The assessment for this course includes the following components:

  • Class participation: 15%

  • Two written assignments (each 20%) on the politics of evidence based policy: 40%

  • Group project: Drafting an evaluation tender: 35%

  • Class presentation of evaluation tender: 10%


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list



This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact