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Using Data Systems

Enrollment is Closed

About This Unit

The key goal of this unit is to help learners become better users of, and contributors to, data systems by: 1) Developing a shared understanding of what makes a good data system, and how data systems can facilitate timely evidence-informed decision-making, and 2) Equipping learners with key principles to help them contribute to effective data systems in their organizations.

Using Data Systems is taught as part of official training programs conducted by institutions collaborating with the Evidence for Policy Design program at the Center for International Development at Harvard University. The unit is one of a suite of seven units that aim to equip policy decision-makers with practical skills and frameworks for effectively applying data and evidence in their work. These training materials help help policy makers and government officials become better consumers of policy-relevant evidence and more effective commissioners of new evidence.

What You Will Learn

  • Understand the key principles for building and contributing to strong data systems for better policy decision making.


  • Some familiarity with public programs and professional experience with the policy process, ideally 5 years or more professional experience.
  • Some familiarity with basic budgeting and statistics.
  • English language proficiency.

The Nature of This as a Private Course

This course is private, meaning that only learners who are invited can participate.

About Evidence for Policy Design

The Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) program at Harvard Kennedy School unites research and practice for smart policy. EPoD works to promote the use of analytical insights, drawn from economics and backed by rigorous evidence, to inform the design and implementation of public policies and programs around the world. Through research, teaching, and capacity-building activities, EPoD equips decision makers from around the world with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand how data and evidence can be used most effectively to achieve policy goals. To learn more about EPoD, please visit us at and follow @EPoDHarvard on Twitter.


This material has been funded by Access Health International, through support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Nutrition content and examples were developed with support from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).