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This course introduces Policy Analysis techniques using Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods to support effective decision making. Participants will gain a range of practical research skills to assist policy making, including how to set up answerable research questions, design research plans, sampling design, collect quantifiable information, analyse and interpret quantitative information, and effectively report or communicate findings. Further, the main focus of this course is quantitative; survey-based research, applied statistics and the use of computer software with special reference to actual case studies from public policy in Brunei Darussalam.
The course is suitable for anyone interested in degree and postgraduate level research, Masters and PhD students, and officers in the government or private sector who wish to acquire practical skills in quantitative research methods and practice to aid decision-making. Advanced quantitative skills are not required but a hands-on knowledge of basic computer applications, e.g., Microsoft Office, is assumed. Upon completion of the course, participants will receive a CSPS certificate of accomplishment and will be competent to:
- Understand the strengths and limitations of research methods in policy analysis;
- Able to design research techniques to investigate appropriate issues in public policy;
- Design a range of statistically acceptable sampling methods and make sound decisions about which type of sampling to apply for a research study;
- Formulate operational indicators for measurement of abstract policy concepts and construct good questionnaires to collect quantifiable information;
- Understand key statistical concepts and methodologies used in data analysis;
- Gain practical knowledge of data management and analysis via widely used computer softwares (Excel and SPSS);
- Explore the different approaches to qualitative data analysis such as participant and non-participant observations, structured and semi-structured in-depth interviews, and focus group discussions;
- Understand the different concepts and methodologies in conducting impact evaluations of policies and programmes; and
- Learn good report writing for policy making.
Module 1. Overview of Research Methods & Policy Analysis (Day 1: 1 Aug 2023)
An overview of the rationale and types of policy research and introduction to basic steps to conduct research, from conceptualisation and refinement of policy issues, designing researchable policy research questions, research design, observational techniques and data analysis.
Module 2. Practical Survey Research Techniques for Data Collection (Day 2&3: 2-3 August 2023)
Topics include the main steps in designing questionnaires and conducting surveys. Using case studies method, guidance will be given on formulating operational definitions and construction of effective indicators for empirical measurements of abstract policy concepts and to consider issues of reliability and validity in use of social indicators.
Module 3. Sampling Design for Surveys (Day 4: 7 August 2023)
A special focus on sampling design and methods used to conduct surveys. Topics include logic of sampling, sampling statistics, qualitative and quantitative sampling design, random and non-random sampling methods and case studies applications.
Module 4. Quantitative Analysis for Policymaking (Day 5&6: 8-9 August 2023)
This module provides an introduction to basic quantitative and statistical methods for policy analysis. Topics include descriptive statistics, statistical inference and linear regression. Participants are expected to develop a theoretical understanding of fundamental quantitative techniques and improve their use of Microsoft Excel tools for research and analysis.
Module 5. Using Computer Software for Data Analysis (Day 7: 10 August 2023)
Emphasis of this module is on the application of the quantitative and statistical techniques covered in Module 4, using Excel and SPSS, to approach public policy issues and draw appropriate policy conclusions. Participants are expected to prepare a survey data file ready for analysis and to apply statistical techniques previously learned through the use of computer software using real-life data sets.
Module 6. Qualitative Research: Methods and Data Analysis (Day 8: 14 August 2023)
This module introduces qualitative research methods and the different approaches to qualitative data analysis such as participant and non-participant observations, structured and semi-structured in-depth interviews, and focus group discussions. It explores meanings and behaviors in a social context and the value of qualitative research in policymaking.
Module 7. Impact Evaluation (Day 9: 15 August 2023)
This module covers various statistical methods to evaluate the impact of policies and programmes. Participants will acquire a general understanding of each method, their pros and cons, and when they are most appropriate to use. Several case studies will be presented to provide insights on how impact evaluation has been used in other countries as part of their evidence-based policy making process.
Module 8. Report Writing (Day 10: 16 August 2023)
This module highlights the different styles of report writing and provides guidelines for acquiring good report writing skills for policy making. Tips for effective presentation skills are also covered.