How to implement trials to evaluate programs and policies
Conference Date
27th & 28th August 2019
Location
QT Canberra
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Executive Forum with Professor Michael J. Hiscox

The Applying Randomised Controlled Trials for Program & Policy Evaluation provides an extensive introduction to conducting randomised controlled trials, the gold standard method for assessing the true impacts of programs and policies.

What is a randomised control trial (RCT)?

In an RCT, researchers allocate an intervention or treatment by selecting program participants and non- participants by random assignment and then compare the differences in subsequent outcomes across the groups in the study.

Leading empirical research across the social sciences in the past 10 years has been increasingly dominated by RCTs, and this methodology is now revolutionising the way government agencies approach policies in the key areas of health, education, welfare and poverty alleviation.

What will you take away?

In this forum, we will examine why RCTs are so critical for accurate impact evaluation and why they are so much better than traditional approaches. We will then discuss how to design and implement RCTs and overcome the various challenges that can limit evaluation. We will examine applications of RCTs to evaluate major programs addressing public health, education, employment and job training, social welfare, aid and economic development, taxation, gender bias and racial discrimination, and criminal justice.

  • A review of the statistical methodology of evaluation
  • An understanding of how RCTs compare to other common approaches of estimating the effects of programs and policies
  • Critical steps to take when designing and implementing RCTs
  • A hands on approach to overcoming the practical issues involved in working with government and non-governmental partners
  • An exploration of political and ethical issues associated with RCTs
  • Insights on how to select a study sample and calculate statistical power
  • Advice on the use of randomised encouragements or ‘intent to treat’ design, and online experimental platforms
  • Recommendations on how to best report on and communicate findings

Who should attend?

The forum is ideal for public servants, policy practitioners and other professionals interested in public policy who want solid grounding in the theoretical foundations of program evaluation and training in how to design and implement an RCT to assess the effects of any specific program or policy. Some background in economics, psychology, or other fields of social science is helpful but not required.

Attend to learn:

  • Recommendations on how to best report on and communicate findings
  • An understanding of how RCTs compare to other common approaches of estimating the effects of programs and policies
  • Advice on the use of randomised encouragements or ‘intent to treat’ design, and online experimental platforms
  • Insights on how to select a study sample and calculate statistical power