Ask smarter questions. Get better results.

“In D.C., we never once questioned in the way that you have shown. This framework will be very helpful to me.”

A government official and prior participant

In the digital age, the volume of information available to leaders at the decision-making level continues to increase dramatically. Data are increasingly important inputs for decision-making. Strong scenario planning and strategic decision making around military, intelligence, and security challenges depend on the ability to effectively parse and interpret data and evidence.

Many of the most pressing policy concerns—from identifying potential terrorist operatives to predicting where and when attacks will occur to choosing the right aid programs in conflict-affected regions—depend on efficiently and accurately analyzing information. How should you evaluate available data and develop potential policy options? What questions should you ask? How do you know you have the "right information"?

Leading Evidence-Based Decisions is an executive education program developed by faculty from Harris Public Policy and Princeton University to train policy leaders and security professionals in the principles of evidence-based decision making so they can ask smarter questions of their analysts and make better decisions.


This program introduces policy professionals and security professionals to the fundamental principles of evidence-based decision-making by focusing on how these principles relate to ongoing policy challenges.

Over the course of two and a half days, leaders will gain a working knowledge of key principles that will allow them to ask smarter questions of their analysts and make better decisions. Participants will learn to:

  • Separate credible from non-credible evidence.

  • Distinguish causation from correlation.

  • Avoid common pitfalls in evidence-based decision making.

  • Overcome biases that distort many policy decisions.

By participating in classroom-based instruction, consideration of timely examples and case studies, and experiential group exercises, participants will leave with a transformed understanding of how to extract credible, substantive, and actionable information from evidence-based analyses.

Who Should Attend

This is a course for leaders who rely on evidence-based analysis and recommendations to make important decisions. It is not a course in data analysis. It is meant for:

  • Leaders in any organization who receive briefings that present evidence to justify different courses of action

  • Civilians who have served at the Director and Senior Director level or equivalent

  • Military officers at the O4, O5, O6 level or above (generally Majors, Lieutenant Colonels, and Colonels or higher) as well as senior non-commissioned officers (NCOs)

  • Team leaders in the intelligence community

  • Other policy professionals leading scenario planning and evidence-based policy making



Leading Evidence-Based Decisions is an executive education program developed in collaboration by Harris Public Policy, Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts, and the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC).

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