Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 202001391
The Art of Evidence-Based Policy Making
Course infoSchedule
Course module202001391
Credits (ECTS)5
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Contact persondr. A.C.M. de Gayardon de Fenoyl
dr. H.F. de Boer
dr. A.C.M. de Gayardon de Fenoyl
Contactperson for the course
dr. A.C.M. de Gayardon de Fenoyl
Externe Docent
prof.dr. B.J.R. van der Meulen
Academic year2022
Starting block
Application procedureYou apply via OSIRIS Student
Registration using OSIRISYes
On the basis of what ‘facts’ are COVID-19 measures taken? Is the knowledge from the IPCC climate report undisputed and translated into concrete policies? What information is used to determine how much of certain fish species can be caught? How realistic is the belief that policies underpinned by scientific knowledge in these and other areas lead to better results? All social policy issues raise the question of the extent to which policy decisions are evidence-based. These and related questions will be addressed during this course.

The aim of the course is to provide you with insight into evidence-based policy making by presenting and learning theories and concepts but also by providing you with some practical experiences, through challenge-based learning. The course gives equal importance to theory and practice, ensuring that you have many opportunities to actively apply the knowledge gained. Consider joining the course if you contemplate a career as a policy maker, a consultant or a policy-oriented researcher or if you are just interested in how knowledge shapes our world.
After following this course, you will be able to identify the use and importance of (scientific) knowledge in different phases of a policy process. You will have knowledge of the key principles and concepts in the field of evidence-based policy making, be able to critically consider these insights and concepts and be able to explain these principles and concepts well. In addition, you will be able to apply these insights – partly on the basis of various practical examples but also by working on a policy project – critically and in a structured manner and to arrive at your own judgement on the (im)possibilities of using scientific knowledge in a policy process.
You will acquire competences and skills to communicate your insights through active participation in discussions during lectures, giving and commenting on presentations during tutorials, gaining skills during workshops (including a simulation game), and writing several assignments culminating in a policy brief on a topic of your choosing.

The emphasis in this course is therefore on:
  • Theories and concepts of evidence-based policy (for understanding and reflecting on the dynamics and complexity of evidence based)
  • Gaining insight into the practices of evidence-based policy making (through case studies from different public sectors).
  • Skills acquisition (developing a set of competencies for the use and assessment of the role of knowledge in policy making).
In our knowledge-intensive society, we expect policy choices to be well-informed. Policy-makers and implementers are called upon to make use of the best available knowledge. The use of knowledge in policy making is therefore a popular topic, both in the world of policy and in the world of science. The number of policy reports and scientific publications dealing with this topic in the last two decades is overwhelming.
The extent to which knowledge and evidence are used and by whom, factors and conditions (barriers and facilitators) have been identified for the use of knowledge in policy, and a variety of guidelines, advice and manuals have been published to increase the use of evidence by policymakers. At the same time, there is a surprising lack of evidence on how much evidence policymakers use. The widely held assumption that the use of evidence would improve the outcome of the policy process remains relatively untested by any form of empirical analysis. Despite advances in scientific knowledge, analysis tools, and data collection and processing techniques, there is still no political and intellectual consensus on some cardinal questions: what is 'evidence'; what should be evidence; how should it be produced, validated and communicated; and how should it be used to improve policy making?
This course addresses these questions. Through case studies from different public domains, you will be made aware of the most important insights and theories. This is done by giving lectures, giving practical examples and actively practicing using the provided insights (among others in simulations). The knowledge and skills gained in this course will culminate in the writing of a policy brief.
You are expected to actively participate during the compulsory lectures. Knowledge is tested through an exam ('theory test'), some (small) assignments that will lead to the writing of a policy brief, active participation in lectures, and a reflection paper. You must pass all the different evaluations individually to pass the course.

Test Test weight Remark
Exam 20  
Assignments and Policy Brief 60 several small assignments, presented at tutorials, that culminate in the writing of a policy brief as a final paper.
Reflection paper 20  

Participating study
Master Public Administration
Required materials
Course material
Journal articles and other materials will be made available online. The exam materials consists of a part of these articles and the lecture contents.
Recommended materials
Instructional modes

Presence dutyYes

Exam, Assignments and paper

Kies de Nederlandse taal