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Commissioning Evidence

Enrollment in this course is by invitation only

About This Unit:

Policymakers sometimes lack critical information to make a fully informed decision. When this happens, you may want to commission new evidence. This unit presents a framework to help you do so in a smart way.

This unit will help you:

  • Understand when commissioning evidence is most useful
  • Think critically about what types of evidence to commission
  • Consider whether a commission you are considering is “small” (cheap, routine, simple) or “large” (expensive, uncommon, complex)


  • Some familiarity with the policy realm
  • Some familiarity with basic statistics (comfort with basic math and familiarity with basic statistical terminology, like “mean” and “sample”)
  • English language proficiency

About Evidence for Policy Design

The Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard Kennedy School uses analytical insights, drawn from economics and backed by rigorous evidence, to inform the design and implementation of public policies and programs around the world. To learn more about EPoD, please visit us at and follow @EPoDHarvard on Twitter.


This unit was developed through the EPoD Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence: Data and Evidence for Smart Policy Design (BCURE) project, a multi-year engagement to build technical and institutional capacity to integrate data and research evidence into policy decision making, focusing on South Asia. The development of this unit was funded by UK aid from the UK government; however, the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.

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    Private enrollment, self-paced
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