Measuring the change that matters

Large numbers of public and private programs are funded and implemented each year, with the aim of improving socio-economic wellbeing. Think for example of health, education and infrastructure interventions implemented by governments; advocacy campaigns run by non-governmental organizations; or innovation programs launched by private firms. Once they are completed, it is relatively easy to work out the resources they took up and what outputs they produced. But can we answer what difference the program made and why?

Quantifying and explaining effects are not only recurrent elements in socio-economic development and international aid programs. They are also becoming essential features of private sector initiatives. Measuring social impact is now as important for private companies as it is for non-profit and public institutions. Private companies also need to know the footprint they have on society, beyond accounting for profit and loss.

Knowing what difference a program makes is also a valuable input into evidence-based decision-making, both in developing public policy and in private sector initiatives. Impact evaluation generates robust evidence on what works, what doesn’t work, why, for whom and in which contexts. This is crucial not only to assess the significance of the change brought by your program but also to improve it.

This impact evaluation course will help you develop the theoretical and practical foundations to answer these crucial questions. It will guide you through counterfactual impact evaluation, the approach used to examine whether a program made a difference and how much of this can be attributed to the program. The course will also walk you through theory-based impact evaluation, the approach used to find out why a program worked or did not work.  After completion of this course, you will be equipped with a set of tools that you can confidently use to quantify and explain the effects of a program.

Complex Problem Solving

Certificate (diploma optional)


Course date
2018 (TBC)

5 days

Jordi del Bas, Lecurer in Global Corporate Strategy at Maastricht School of Management
Lead Trainer
Jordi del Bas
Lecurer in Global Corporate Strategy

Program structure 

Monday    Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
09:00 - 10:30

*Course introduction and presentations

*Overview of the course

*What is impact evaluation?

*The demand for impact evaluation

*The uses of impact evaluation

*The evaluation challenge: attribution and selection bias

*The problem of the counterfactual

*Experimental versus quasi-experimental designs

*Propensity score matching. Worked-through examples

*Methodological challenge of CIE and how to address them

*Realist evaluation. Worked-through examples.

*Case study review

*How to implement and impact evaluation (choosing the right method)

*How to manage and impact evaluation (team, timings, budget)

10:30 Coffee break
10:45 - 12:30

*Approaches to causality

*Causal pathways and theory of change

*Worked-through examples

*Counterfacutal Impact Evaluation (CIE)

*Randomized Control Trials (RCT). Worked-through examples

*Case study review

*Group assignment (team work and plenary presentations)

*Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). Worked-through examples.

*Case study review

*Ethical issues in impact evaluation

*Quality aspects and tips to mitigate common risks

13:00 - 14:00 Lunch break
14:00 - 15:30
*Group assignment (team work and plenary presentations)

*Instrumental variables technique. Worked-through examples.

*Regression discontinuity. Worked-through examples

*Theory-based impact evaluation

*Contribution analysis. Worked-through examples.

*Plenary debate (based on readings)

*Group assignment (team work)

*Impact measurement in the private sector

*Evolution and trends

*Methodologies to assess social impact

15:45 - 17:00

*Overview of evaluation designs, methodological approaches and quantitative and qualitative tools for impact evaluation

*Sampling and power calculation

*Difference-in-differences estimation. Worked-through examples

*Case study review

*Process tracing. Worked-through examples

*Case study review

*Group assignment (Plenary presentations)

*Impact measurement frameworks: Worked-through examples

*Closing remarks

Course objectives

  • Develop a robust, evidence-based answer on what difference your program made, and why
  • Understand when and how to conduct impact evaluations
  • Understand the design and implementation of an impact evaluation
  • Use insights obtained from impact evaluations to inform policy decisions

Course topics

  • What is impact evaluation, why are impact evaluations important? Uses and demand for impact evaluation
  • Practical aspects of causality, attribution and the counterfactual
  • Overview of evaluation designs, methodological approaches and tools for impact evaluation (both quantitative and qualitative)
  • Counterfactual impact evaluation methods
  • Theory-based impact evaluation methods
  • How to implement and manage impact evaluations
  • Quality, risks and ethical aspects of impact evaluations
  • Impact measurement in the private sector:  evaluation and impact investing

Teaching methods

The approach will be highly interactive. Lecturer presentations on the topics will be combined with question and answers, debates and plenary discussions. Teaching methods will also feature worked-through examples, case study reviews and group assignments. Assignments will consist on group work followed by team presentations and plenary discussions.

Your profile

The course is designed for public policy makers and policy planners; staff of not-for-profit organizations involved in monitoring and evaluation; and private sector company staff interested in measuring the social impact of their programs. However, it is also open to anyone with interest in unpacking, measuring and defining what difference their program made and why.


Each participant receives a certificate of attendance on the last day of the course. Only for those who will complete an additional assignment will receive a diploma. In case you would like to have more information you contact

Jordi del Bas

Lecurer in Global Corporate Strategy

Jordi del Bas is an economist specialized in private sector development and has worked as senior independent evaluator for international agencies (European Commission, UNDP, UNFPA and the World Bank among others) in fifty countries worldwide.

He is a senior accredited trainer on Evaluation by the Secretariat General of the European Commission, Head of International Development at the Global Business Research Center of the EADA Business School in Barcelona and visiting professor at the Masters in Development of the Institute of Development and Cooperation of the Complutense University of Madrid in Spain.

He holds degrees in Business Administration and in Economics from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and he is currently a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) candidate at the Maastricht School of Management. His doctoral research explores the relationship between corporate culture and well-being in private sector firms.

"Never before has finding out whether we make a difference been so important, as it is in the world we live in now. The ability to analyse evidence and discern true impact has become essential to most of us".

The full tuition fee

The tuition fee of this course is € 2,499.

Tuition fee includes all course materials and study materials. Tuition fee does not include housing, food and living expenses. Participants are required to arrange their own housing facilities. MSM can assist in finding hotel accommodation.


Scholarship opportunities can be combined up to 50% of the full tuition fee.

Corporate Discount:
15% for 2 participants coming from the same organization within 1 academic year
25% for 3 participants coming from the same organization within 1 academic year
40% for 4 - 6 participants coming from the same organization within 1 academic year
For > 6 participants we will offer a tailor made program

European Star Scholarship:
50% for European citizens and long term residents. Submit a 2 - 3 page essay on the topic: "What will be the positive change for my organization and me after participating in this course?"

Alumni Lifelong Learning:
15% discount for Maastricht School of Management registered Alumni

Dean's Development Fund:
Select your country below to see the actual price of the program (full tuition fee-/-DDF scholarship)

The tuition fee of this course is (select country).

Cancellation policy

MSM reserves the right to postpone or cancel the program in case the number of participants does not meet the MSM requirements for minimum number of participants. Any payment made to MSM for tuition fee will be refunded. In the case of postponement or cancellation of the program MSM will inform the enrolled candidates at least six weeks before the planned start of the program.

By the participant:

If an admitted participant decides against participation after the tuition fee has been paid, cancellation costs are €200,- (administrative costs)

In case cancellation is done after the program has started no money will be refunded.

No cancellation charges are incurred if the enrolled participant, with written consent of MSM, will be replaced by another participant before the start of the course. Refunded tuition fees will only be reimbursed to the sponsoring party and cannot be forwarded or redeemed by any other party.

Participants who were not granted a visa to enter The Netherlands, can be fully reimbursed if written official documentation is provided of such visa denial.

Application deadline

2018 (TBC)

Admission requirements

Applicants should have the ability to function academically and professionally at Bachelor level and should have an adequate level of spoken and written English.

Reasons to follow the Impact Evaluation Methods and Tools course

  • Have a clear understanding of how to measure impact
  • Learn about all the options you have for an impact evaluation design
  • Familiarize yourself with impact evaluation tools
  • Be able to interpret, present and defend the results of an impact evaluation
  • Be well equipped to answer the question: what difference did we really make? Did we generate the changes or were they due to other factors?

Impact evaluation generates robust evidence on what works and what doesn’t

Open enrollment programs

MSM offers a wide portfolio of short open enrollment programs. Our skills-oriented programs will help you to enhance your management and professional knowledge and skills, broaden your mind and develop your personal skills. Additionally we offer policy-oriented programs providing you with the tools and instruments that can help you in developing effective policies for your organization.

Custom made programs

Apart from the Open Enrollment executive programs, MSM offers custom training programs, for the public and private sector, and for the higher and vocational education sector. MSM’s custom programs are tailored to the specific needs and challenges of your organization, making them the perfect tool to strengthen the leadership skills and expertise of the professionals of your organization.