Introduction to Impact Evaluation - Online

Course Code


Organised by

NCRM, University of Southampton and Research Centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoc)


Professor Emilia Del Bono and Dr Angus Holford


25/11/2021 - 26/11/2021


Online run by University of Southampton and University of Essex


View in Google Maps  (SO17 1BJ)


Jacqui Thorp
Training and Capacity Building Co-Ordinator, National Centre for Research Methods, University of Southampton


This online course will introduce you to various empirical, quantitative methods that can be used to estimate the impact of a specific policy intervention. These methods can be referred to as “programme evaluation”, “impact assessment”, “causal estimation” or “impact evaluation”.  The course assumes basic statistical concepts (mean, median, correlation, expected value, statistical significance and confidence intervals), and algebra is optional. It does not teach participants how to implement any of these methods using statistical software.

The course covers:

  • The evaluation problem, and how randomized experiments solve the problem
  • An intuitive explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of matching, including propensity score matching; quasi-experimental methods such as instrumental variables; and difference-in-differences
  • It does not teach participants how to implement any of these methods using statistical software

By the end of the course participants will:

  • Be able to think about evaluation in terms of “counterfactuals” and “informative contrasts” (or comparisons)
  • Be able to explain intuitively the conditions under which propensity score matching, instrumental variables and difference-in-differences are likely to produce unbiased estimates of the impact of an intervention
  • Be able to assess whether an actual or proposed design for an impact evaluation is likely to give reliable results, given the nature of the policy under consideration

This course is aimed at Government researchers and analysts interested in quantitative methods for impact evaluation, Third sector researchers and analysts interested in quantitative methods for impact evaluation and PhD students and junior researchers.


Day 1:

09:45                Welcome and Introductions

10:05                Session 1: The Evaluation Problem

                        c. 10:50-11:10: Group exercise

11:30                Tea/Coffee Break

11:50                Session 2: Matching and Regression as a Strategy to Estimate Causal Impacts

                        c. 12:35-12:55: Group exercise

13:20                Introduction to (brief!) individual overnight exercise: Case study using matching [TBC]

13:30                Close

Day 2:

09:45                Discussion from overnight exercise

10:00                Session 3: Quasi-Experimental Methods: The regression Discontinuity Design and Instrumental Variables

                        c. 10:50-11:10: Group exercise

11:30                Tea/Coffee Break

11:50                Session 4: The Differences-in-Differences approach

                        c. 12:20 – 12:35: Group exercise

13:00                Introduction to final individual exercise: Case study using RDD / [TBC]

                        c.13:05: Individual exercise

13:20                Final remarks on case study; Q&A

13:30                Evaluations and Close



Entry (no or almost no prior knowledge)


The fee per teaching day is: • £30 per day for UK/EU registered students • £60 per day for staff at UK/EU academic institutions, UK/EU Research Councils researchers, UK/EU public sector staff, staff at UK/EU registered charity organisations and recognised UK/EU research institutions. • £100 per day for all other participants In the event of cancellation by the delegate a full refund of the course fee is available up to two weeks prior to the course. No refunds are available after this date. If it is no longer possible to run a course due to circumstances beyond its control, NCRM reserves the right to cancel the course at its sole discretion at any time prior to the event. In this event every effort will be made to reschedule the course. If this is not possible or the new date is inconvenient a full refund of the course fee will be given. NCRM shall not be liable for any costs, losses or expenses that may be incurred as a result of the cancellation of a course. The University of Southampton’s Online Store T&Cs also continue to apply.

Website and registration


South East


Explanatory Research and Causal analysis, Experimental Research , Quasi-Experimental Research, Evaluation Research, Regression Methods, Quantitative Approaches (other), Cross-sectional Research , Longitudinal Research

Related publications and presentations

Explanatory Research and Causal analysis
Experimental Research
Quasi-Experimental Research
Evaluation Research
Regression Methods
Quantitative Approaches (other)

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