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

Leading Evidence-Based Decisions is an executive education program developed by faculty from the University of Chicago and Princeton University to train policy leaders in the public, non-profit and social sectors in the principles of evidence-based decision making so they can ask smarter questions of their analysts and make better decisions.



The volume of information available to leaders at the decision-making level continues to increase dramatically. Strategic decision making around military, intelligence, and security challenges depends on the ability to effectively interpret data and evidence. This program advances policy professionals' and security professionals' understanding of the fundamental principles of evidence-based decision-making.

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:

  • Non-profit and social sector senior leadership staff members;
  • Senior civilian government officials (GS-13 and higher) who receive and utilize evidence to weigh courses of action or strategies;

  • Senior military staff and commanders at the O5, O6 level or above (generally Lieutenant Colonels, Colonels, and Flag Officers);

  • Strategic Advisors/Executive Officers/Directors/Initiatives Group leaders or staff team members supporting federal, state, or local government officials;

  • Leaders in any organization who receive an utilize evidence to weigh courses of action or strategies.


The faculty committee is in the process of finalizing the 2020 program schedule and dates. We will accept applications after the 2020 program dates are finalized.

For updates, please continue to check the site or fill out the request info form

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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