The course introduces students to the theoretical approaches of emergent phenomenon, political instability and political violence forecasting. It provides students an opportunity to design and develop new and innovative solutions to forecast and analyze emerging political dynamics through hands-on practical group projects. The course reviews the history and current techniques used in political violence analysis, from both the practitioner and user perspective. The course also examines case studies, methodologies used by political forecast practitioners and organizations, software used to help make political risk forecasts and trend analysis. Click here for a PDF of the 2013 Syllabus.
The theoretical portion of the course will build on three literatures:
Complex and emergent systems (game theory, systems dynamics theory, & network analysis)
Political violence (state failure & protest dynamics)
Forecasting and analysis (analytical processes, forecasting methodologies, & decision matrices)
The project course requires students to complete an options analysis of a specific policy problem. The default format for the project course is a professional analytic brief, no more than 40 double-spaced pages. Students may choose a different format, by agreement with their principal faculty adviser. Each student must also make a final oral presentation to ISEP faculty and student colleagues, setting forth his/her principal findings and policy recommendations. Preliminary drafts (and a preliminary presentation that will be videotaped for review) are also required.
The IDEV Project Course is a capstone project for Masters of Public Policy students in the IDEV specialization. The course requires a student or a pair of students to write an analytical paper on a specific international development policy issue. Students can focus on any topic in international development which has policy relevance and must highlight that relevance in the paper. The analysis can include any number of modes of analysis (quantitative or qualitative) and will be expected to support the evaluation of policy options. While a quantitative analysis is not necessary, we emphasize the development of a good analytical framework and expect a certain degree of rigor in the final paper.