Scrutinize assessments, notice fallacies, and identify unintended consequences.

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

-– Government Official and prior participant


In our quantitative age, data and evidence are increasingly important inputs for decisions on international strategic and security issues to the full range of domestic policy concerns. International relations and government policy is increasingly complex, requiring scenario planning and identification of a range of possible outcomes.

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 in the fundamentals of evidence-based decision making so they can ask smarter questions of their analysts and make better decisions.


This program introduces policy professionals to 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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