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Harris School of Public Policy

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About the course

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.


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 depend 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:

  • Leaders in any organization who receive and utilize evidence to weigh courses of action or strategies.
  • Senior military staff and commanders at the O5 and O6 level or above (generally Lieutenant Colonels, Colonels, and Flag Officers).
  • Strategic Advisors/Initiatives Group leaders or staff team members.
  • Civilian officials at the Director and Senior Director level or equivalent.

Trust the experts

Liam Collins

Academy Professor and Director, Modern War Institute, United States Military Academy Colonel Liam Collins is the director of the Modern War Institute at the United States Military Academy and the former director of the Combating Terrorism Center. A career Special Forces officer, he has served in ...


Jacob Shapiro

Biography Jacob N. Shapiro is Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and co-directs the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project, a multi-university consortium that compiles and analyzes micro-level conflict data and other information on politically motivated violen...


Ethan Bueno De Mesquita

About Ethan Bueno de Mesquita Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, AB''96, is the Sydney Stein Professor and Deputy Dean for Faculty & Research at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. He is an applied game theorist whose research focuses on political violence—especially terrorism, i...


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