Using Evidence

Subject PADM90008 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

October, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 03-Oct-2016
Teaching Period 10-Oct-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 04-Oct-2016
Census Date 19-Oct-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 04-Nov-2016

This subject will run from 9am until 5pm on each scheduled day.

Note: During the pre-teaching period, students will be able to access the LMS and the readings provided in order to prepare for the first assessment task, which is due prior to the start of face-to-face teaching. Students will be able to contact the subject coordinator for support during the pre-teaching period.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: This subject is comprised of seminars and workshops delivered as an intensive over 3 days (approx 24 hours total)
Total Time Commitment:

Total 170 hours


Admission to the Master of Public Administration program and successful completion of the following subject: PPMN90007 The World of Public Administration.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Previous study in public policy, political science, management, law, business, economics, international relations, non-profit management or cognate area.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof Jeff Borland


Subject Overview:

Using Evidence is one of the core subjects in the Melbourne Master of Public Administration. The Melbourne MPA is an interdisciplinary, globally-focused degree program for managers that work within or with government. This subject is one of three professionally-oriented subjects and it builds on the World of Public Administration and the core discipline subjects to develop the professional skills of participants with a particular focus on using evidence in managerial practice.

This subject will explore the issues of evidence construction and use in practice, allowing participants to reflect on their professional experience and develop their ability to be ‘smart consumers’ of information in a professional setting. It will explore how evidence is created, by whom, and for what purpose, exposing participants to the ongoing debates regarding evidence-based policy-making, data-driven decision-making, and, more broadly, the creation of knowledge. It will place a particular emphasis on the complex relationship between scientific advancement and the challenges this poses to policy makers and public managers.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • Understand the nature of evidence, its foundation, and how it is created;
  • Acquire knowledge of the social, theoretical, historical and disciplinary bases of evidence and how this impacts on decision making during the managerial, policy design and implementation phases;
  • Develop a deep understanding of the skills and capabilities required to meet contemporary management practice;
  • Appreciate how to apply new skills and capabilities in decision making to managerial practice.

Assessment Task 1: Practice application paper of 1000 words where students write up a practical issue related to key themes in the subject (20%), due in the first week of the teaching period;

Assessment Task 2: Syndicate project (2000-word equivalent per individual), due the week following the teaching period:

  • Group presentation (1000-word equivalent per individual) (20%)
  • Group paper exploring a key aspect of the group presentation (1000-word equivalent per individual) (20%)

Assessment Task 3: Professional reflection paper of 2500 words where students apply key concepts from the course to the practical issue from assessment task 1 (40%), due three weeks after the teaching period.

Hurdle requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 100% of classes in order to pass this subject and regular class participation is expected.

Prescribed Texts:

All readings will be provided via the LMS.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should have:

  • A sound understanding of the principles of evidence and evidence-based decision-making, and their foundations;
  • A high-level ability to combine theory and practice in order to address managerial challenges, and to do so in response to the meaningful use of evidence;
  • A high-level ability to combine professional skills with discipline-based expertise, in particular in relation to the use of evidence;
  • A highly-developed capacity to adapt to new situations and reflect upon professional practice, using evidence-based policy-making and data-driven decision-making in order to meet managerial challenges;
  • Flexible communication skills with a highly-attuned sensitivity to a diverse audience, and to the issues specific to cross-cultural communication.
Related Course(s): Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Administration (Enhanced)
Specialist Certificate in Public Administration

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