Assignment 2 – Overview

Assignment 2 – Overview

Assignment 2 will focus on students undertaking a policy evaluation or small research project using real-world data. Students will be given a list of potential data sets that have been ‘cleaned’ and are able to be analyzed, alongside some suggested evaluation questions. Students also have the option of providing their own data set or evaluation question. However, in this instance the onus will be on students to make sure the data set is prepared for analysis.

Students will be asked to identify a small research project using this data set. It is anticipated that this project will be similar to the case studies used throughout the course, though it will be much smaller in scale.

Data-sets, and additional details will be made available during the intensive week.

The assignment has a maximum of 3,500 words (including footnotes, but excluding references) and is worth 35% of the total mark.

Learning outcomes that the assignment will test are: 2 (Specify a research question related to policy evaluation that is answerable using empirical methods), 4 (Understand the assumptions, strengths and limitations of the main techniques for evaluating policies), 5 (Use statistical software for applying impact evaluation techniques) and 6 (Conduct empirical research using modern econometric techniques for policy evaluation).

Assignment 2 Detailed questions

In undertaking your policy evaluation/research project, please answer the following sub-questions:

  1. What does the existing literature say about the research or policy area, and where are the gaps in our knowledge?
  2. What is your research question or evaluation question?
  3. What is your analysis plan or program logic/theory of change?
  4. What are the main assumptions underlying your analysis plan or program logic/theory of change?
  5. What are some of the strengths and limitations in the data that you will be using?
  6. What are the main findings from your data analysis?
  7. What are the policy implications from your analysis?
  8. What further research questions and/or policy evaluations would you recommend?

All students will be expected to perform some data analysis as part of the assignment. However, as there is a range of background skills and knowledge, there is considerable scope to vary the emphasis within the project. Those students with less familiarity with analytical techniques have the option to focus on the existing literature and the design of the analysis. Those with a more analytical background could focus on more detailed analysis. Those with a data background could focus on the strengths and limitations of the data. All students, however, are expected to at least touch on each of the 8 sub-questions.


Submissions are to be made through the Wattle website and are due 9am Monday 22nd June 2020.

Assignment submission

Online Submission: Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) a submission must be through Turnitin Assignments are submitted using Turnitin in the course Wattle site. You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records.

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University’s approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Extensions and penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure.

The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not tutorial participation. If you need an extension, you must request it in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Late assignments will attract a 5% deduction per working day.

Re-submission of assignments

The re-submission of assignments is not permitted in this course. Under exceptional circumstances, a written application may be submitted to the convenor stating reasons for a request to resubmit. The convenor will then make a decision for re-submission/re-sit and email the student notifying them of the decision.

Referencing requirements

Students may use their preferred referencing style (e.g. APA or Harvard). Students must ensure that they are consistent with the use of their preferred style.


The University offers a number of support services for students. Information on these is available online from

Potential research questions

One of the aims of Assignment 2 is to identify a clear research or evaluation question that can be analyzed using existing data. Some potential research questions that could form the basis of Assignment 2 are listed below. Students are encouraged to either narrow these questions or discuss alternative questions with the course convenors:

– Were there changes in net migration into Australia (or particular States/Territories) as a result of major external shocks or policy changes?

– Are there important policy-relevant characteristics that predict employee satisfaction/dissatisfaction within the public service?

– Are there higher rates of income inequality within certain types of regions within Australia?

– Does income and wealth vary across the age distribution in policy relevant ways?

– Is there a relationship between HECS repayments and other policy-relevant characteristics of the taxpayer?

– Is there a relationship between CPI and GDP or other key national economic indicators?

– Are there areas in Australia that have had worsening labour market underutilisation that can be explained by major external shocks or policy changes?