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Evaluating Social Programs

Understand how randomized evaluations can be used to evaluate social and development programs.

This course is archived
Future dates to be announced
Estimated 6 weeks
3–5 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

About this course

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At a Glance

  • Learn why randomized evaluations matter and how they can be used to rigorously measure the social impact of development programs

  • Free and self-paced - enroll anytime before May 14, and complete the course at your own pace

  • Upgrade to the Certificate Track ($99) to verify your grade in the course and gain permanent access to course materials

Organizations -- contact the J-PAL Training Team to learn how to enroll your staff as a cohort in our blended learning program

More About the Course

This course will provide a thorough understanding of randomized evaluations, with pragmatic step-by-step training for conducting one’s own evaluation. Through a combination of lectures and case studies from real randomized evaluations, the course will focus on the benefits and methods of randomization, choosing an appropriate sample size, and common threats and pitfalls to the validity of an experiment. While the course centers on the why, how, and when of randomized evaluations, it will also impart insights on the importance of needs assessments, effectively measuring outcomes, quality control, and the monitoring methods most useful for impact evaluations.

This social impact course is designed for people from a variety of backgrounds: managers and researchers from international development organizations, foundations, governments, and non-governmental organizations from around the world, as well as trained economists looking to retool.

At a glance

  • Institution: MITx
  • Subject: Social Sciences
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:

    Although not required, prior familiarity with basic statistical concepts is recommended.

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Why and when rigorous social impact evaluation is needed
  • Common pitfalls of evaluation designs and why randomization helps

  • Key components of a well-designed randomized evaluation

  • Alternative techniques for incorporating randomization into project design

  • How to measure outcomes, manage data and determine the appropriate sample size

  • How to guard against threats that may undermine the integrity of results

  • Techniques for analyzing and interpreting results

About the instructors

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

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