The central issues addressed by this course are whether and how one ought to try to establish the extent to which public programs are achieving their goals. Are the goals being attained? If not, why not? A great deal of money is actually spent to answer these questions. Is this research worthwhile? Are the results important in the policy process? A critical issue is the quality of evaluation studies that are carried out, so the bulk of the course deals with evaluation theory and methods. Students will learn how to tell whether programs of any kind are having specified impacts upon the world, which turns out to be an extremely difficult question to answer. Policies and programs in a broad range of areas are critiqued in discussion, including health, mental health, corrections, criminal justice, recreation, education, and development.
Prerequisites: PUBPOL 529 (Statistics)