McCourt School of Public Policy

Data Reasoning in a Disinformation World

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About the course

The public policy process is increasingly relying on evidence-based research and insights. In fact, in times of fast-paced technological progress, data driven political decision-making and policymaking have become the new normal. Although these advances allow for enhanced precision for policy analysis, it also opens the door wider for the fabrication of facts, or what we are calling "bull". Detecting and dismantling bogus, fake news, and alternative facts is far from trivial. The aim of this course is to teach participants how to detect and dismantle this fabricated information. Basic statistical concepts and practical data reasoning will be used to arm participants with enhanced problem-solving skills and a powerful eye for critical detail. Besides detecting alternative facts, we envision to equip participants with tools and techniques to craft technical assessments without jargon when dismantling fake news.

Course Goals

By the end of the class, students will be able to:

Effectively navigate through a sea of information in a dynamically evolving policy environment.

Demonstrate how to be more aware of fictitious information seeping into one's consciousness

Increase the recognition factor of fabrication whenever and wherever encountered

Describe how to figure out authenticity

Provide a technical, jargon-free explanation on why a claim is fake

Become more persuasive and convincing that a claim is phony

Evaluate whether information is bogus or not bogus

Who should attend

This course is for leaders in any public or private institution who need to be able to become better versed at policy and information analysis and drawing conclusions based on data and other supporting information.

Trust the experts

Andreas Kern

Dr. Andreas Kern publishes in internationally renowned journals on the political economy of macroeconomic and financial governance. His contributions on the political economy of lending booms and international macroeconomic policy coordination underscore the importance of an interdisciplinary and...


Robert Bednarzik

Robert W. Bednarzik is a Visiting Professor at Georgetown Public Policy Institute (GPPI), joining the faculty full time in 2004, after serving as an Adjunct at GPPI for over 10 years, guiding thesis students interested in international and/or labor policy issues. He worked in public service at th...


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