$1,980 – $2,200


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Coombs Extn 1.04

8 Fellows Road

Acton, ACT, Australia

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The aim of this 2 day course is to introduce and discuss the main issues in data collection, analysis and interpretation in public policy-making, policy analysis and policy evaluation. By focusing on a selection of case studies from recent and ongoing policy debates, this course will provide participants with the skills, knowledge and confidence to answer the following questions:

  • What data exists to support current policy frameworks and debates?
  • What are the ways in which I can analyse and interpret the available data to support a particular policy decision?
  • How do I influence the collection of new and better data within my department?


The course is targeted towards those who commission, undertake or utilise empirical research as part of their role in the analysis, design or implementation of public policy. The focus of this course is on practice and implications rather than technial details. As such, there is no assumed knowledge for the course. There will be a number of exercises throughout the three days with participants given the opportunity to integrate their own experiences and issues into the discussion.

The course will be delivered over three days by the University’s highly regarded international experts in data analysis, policy design and program evaluation.

Day 1 – Morning: Designing and executing a policy project and critically analysing or evaluating data from surveys or other databases

  • Where does the data come from and what are its strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are some of the techniques for analysing and interpreting data?
  • How do we ensure that our analysis is both robust and has policy relevance?
  • Quantitative datasets – cross-sectional, longitudinal and administrative
  • Preliminary decisions and questions for other Department areas doing data collection.
  • Summarising the data and describing a key concept, with a focus on measures of central tendency and dispersion.
  • Recognising weaknesses and using the data strengths to make informed policy decisions
  • Critically evaluating data descriptions produced by others.

Day 1 – Afternoon: Tools and methodologies for measuring policy or program impact

  • Defining policy or program ‘impact’
  • Framing causal questions, taking account of selection biases when evaluating decisions, running impact evaluations and ensuring findings answer important questions.
  • Current approaches to measurement of ‘impact’

Day 2: Critically evaluating the evidence base for some of the most important current Australian policy issues

  • Participants will discuss and examine current or recent policy issues through sample case studies tailored to their interests eg negative gearing changes, childcare reform or indigenous disadvantage etc. Participants will objectively examine the empirical evidence for key areas of policy drawing upon the best and most up to
  • date Australian and international evidence and reflect on where the evidence is thin or nonexistent.
  • Exploring the different ways of writing and analysing evidence for policy, and program design.
  • Discussing the different approaches taken in policy briefs, consultancy reports, academic papers and online reports.
  • Understanding how Departments can commission and obtain the information needed to make better-informed policy or program decisions.


Nicholas Biddle

Nicholas is a leading Australian quantitative social scientist and Deputy Director of the ANU Centre for Social Research. He previously held a Senior Research Officer and Assistant Director position in the Methodology Division of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).  Nicholas has a  long standing research interest in the field of behavioural insights and incorporating findings from other fields in economics. He has a focus on behavioural economics and how its insights could better inform existing policies on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, education, discrimination, welfare reform and wellbeing.

Professor Matthew Gray

Matthew is Director of the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, Professor of Public Policy at The Australian National University and one of Australia’s foremost social scientists. His previous appointments include Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) and Deputy Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies.


Can’t attend on this date?

Please contact to find out about future dates and schedules, as well as to enquire about training delivery at your own premises.

Are there any Group discounts?

Group discounts are available for bulk registrations of 3 or more participants.

What is the cancellation policy?

Cancellations or changes to course registrations should be provided in writing to at the earliest opportunity. Late substitution of registrants and shifting to other advertised courses is permissible but subject to approval and may incur a cost.

What is the refund policy?

Attendees are required to provide no less than 10 working days’ notice to request a full refund. No further refund will be offered once this period has expired. Participants are able to nominate another attendee from their organisation at no charge.

Is my registration/ticket transferable?

Yes, your registration is transferable to another employee at your organisation at any time prior to the day of the event. Please advise new registration details to

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Coombs Extn 1.04

8 Fellows Road

Acton, ACT, Australia

View Map

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