Overview

This guide covers the core materials for an EGAP Learning Days event.

EGAP is a cross-disciplinary network of researchers and practitioners that is united by a focus on experimental research and is dedicated to generating and disseminating rigorous evidence on topics of governance, politics, and institutions. EGAP seeks to forge partnerships between researchers and practitioners committed to understanding the politics of global development, advance evidence-based policy making, and improve the quality of empirical research in the social sciences.

As part of its mission, EGAP organizes Learning Days workshops aiming to build experimental social-science research capacity among principal investigators (PIs) in the Global South. The Learning Days workshops offer a combination of design clinics, research presentations, guided work with statistical analysis software, and topical lectures.

Typically, Learning Day sessions cover topics such as randomization, causal inference, hypothesis testing and more – all for the purpose of supporting participants as they develop their own research designs. By sharing rigorous research methods with workshop participants, the Learning Days serve to identify and build researcher networks in the Global South, as well as to create productive connections between EGAP members and researchers around the world.

This guide is organised in chapters and covers causal inference, randomization, hypothesis testing, estimands, estimators, statistical power, threats to inference, and an overview of other relevant topics. In the appendix, we include some course preliminaries including a glossary of terms, an overview of basic statistics, and an introduction to R and RStudio.

We hope this guide enables others to organise similar events in their home institutions or elsewhere. If you have any questions, feedback or have organised your own event, please get in touch! Simply post an issue on Github or contact us via email,

0.1 How are Learning Days organised?

EGAP has organized Learning Days since 2014, typically twice a year, in Latin America and Africa. We typically partner with local academics or institutions to plan each event. Coordination, instruction, and oversight for the Learning Days are provided by EGAP’s Trainings Director as well as various EGAP members and staff. To inquire about future workshops or get help organizing your own, please contact .

The typical layout of a Learning Days workshop is five full days.

Please see agendas of recent workshops below:

Agenda Ghana (2015)

Agenda Malawi (2017)

Agenda Uruguay (2018)

0.2 What are the learning goals?

  1. Appraise main principles of causal inference and experimental design
  2. Interpret and critique existing impact evaluation designs
  3. Design own impact evaluation
  4. Apply basic coding for experiments in R

0.3 What kinds of activities are typically part of Learning Days?

  1. Lectures - on core principles of causal inference and study design
  2. Design talks - where guest speakers or instructors talk about recent projects they worked on with emphasis on the process of going from idea to design and analysis
  3. Design clinics - working on your own design using the Research Design Form
  4. Exercises - learning to work in R, randomization methods, hypothesis testing, power similation and simple analysis

0.4 How are learning goals assessed?

There is no formal assessment (though certificates of completion are available on request). We however do ask each participant to: 1. Present their design at the end of the workshop 2. Submit their finalized Research Design Forms

0.5 Who are Learning Days for?

Learning Days are designed for Principal Investigators—i.e. professors, post-doctoral fellows, PhD students, and NGO/government agency evaluators who implement experimental research projects on programs related to institutions, governance, and development. Participants must have their own (experimental) project, preferably in its design stage. The workshop is limited to developing-country applicants, typically based in Africa and Latin America. Applicants must have training in social sciences and should have basic knowledge of statistics and/or econometrics. Prior familiarity with statistical sofware is strongly advised. Typically, sessions are conducted in English, requiring applicants to have a professional command of the language (reading and speaking). In order to maintain a productive atmosphere, the meeting typically has a maximum of 15 participants.

0.6 Where have Learning Days been organised?

  • Learning Days 11: Benin. Design Development Workshop for PIs (2019), organized with the African School of Economics
  • Learning Days 10: Colombia. Design Development Workshop for PIs (2019), organized with Universidad de los Andes
  • Learning Days 9: Uruguay Design Development Workshop for PIs (2018), organized with Universidad Católica del Uruguay
  • Learning Days 8: United Arab Emirates. Design Development Workshop for PIs (2018) organized with NYU Abu Dhabi
  • Learning Days 7: Guatemala. Mercy Corps/EGAP Convivimos Workshop (2017), organized with Mercy Corps
  • Learning Days 6: Malawi. Design Development Workshop for PIs (2017), organized with Invest in Knowledge
  • Learning Days 5: Abu Dhabi. Design Development Workshop for PIs (2017), organized with NYU Abu Dhabi
  • Learning Days 4: Chile. Design Development Workshop for PIs (2016), organized with Universidad Diego Portales
  • Learning Days 3: Ghana. Design Development Workshop for PIs (2015), organized with CDD
  • Learning Days 2: UK. Evaluation and Learning that Adds Up (2015), with DfID
  • EGAP-DFID Day of Learning July (2014) with DfID
  • Learning Days 1: Sierra Leone. Design Development Workshop for PIs (2014), organized with Njala University

0.7 How to use this guide?

We assume that you will have R and RStudio installed on your machine.

To get going with R see Getting Started in R and Simple Statistics

We envision that you will copy this guide or parts thereof (eg. Slides, Exercises, Quizzes, etc.) either by using the Download button on the front page of http://github.com/egap/learningdays-guide OR by using github directly (by forking this repository).

0.8 Acknowledgements

The materials included in this Guide have been developed over the past years by the various instructors. These included (in alphabetical order) Jake Bowers, Jasper Cooper, Ana de la O, Lindsay Dolan, Natalia Garbiras Díaz, Macartan Humphreys, Nahomi Ichino, Salif Jaiteh, Gareth Nellis, Dan Nielson, Rafael Piñeiro, Fernando Rosenblatt, Tara Slough, Peter van der Windt and Maarten Voors. At EGAP tremendous support has been provided by Matt Lisiecki, Ingrid Lee, Goldie Negelev and others. Learning Days have been generously funded by the Hewlett Foundation.