TC037: Introduction to Applied Political Economy Analysis

TC037: Introduction to Applied Political Economy Analysis

The international aid industry is going through a paradigm change. Donors are looking to Do Development Differently (DDD) to increase their return on investment through politically smart programming that increases local ownership. But what does that mean across complex political, social, and economic contexts? In this course on applied Political Economy Analysis (PEA), we will equip you with the tools, methodologies and mindset you need to Think and Work Politically (TWP) and engage in effective adaptive management.

Course Description

Using a blended learning approach, which includes online lectures, working group activities and case study materials, the instructors will guide participants through the PEA baseline study process. Using the USAID TWP/PEA Analytical Framework, we will jointly learn how to conduct a PEA starting with research on questions like:

  • Why do international donors carry out development programming with a focus on technical solutions?
  • What are the barriers and opportunities for international development agencies to move towards more contextually driven, politically informed approaches to development programming?

Course Topics

1. In this course, we will review the PEA baseline design process:

  • Conducting a desk review/literature review
  • Crafting a useful PEA question
  • Selecting the correct level of analysis
  • Timeline
  • Resources

2. PEA process and Tools

  • Research design (template)
  • Drafting useful research questions for field study
  • Identification of Key Informants, FGD composition criteria, addressing IRB considerations (protecting anonymity of KIs, data)
  • Qualitative field research methods for PEA
  • Use of analytical tools for data capture and analysis
  • Manual coding of field data

3. Case Study Review

  • Working groups will analyze a case study and determine the appropriate level of PEA, timeline, resources, and research design.

4. From Analysis to Action

  • Using PEA analysis and findings to create actionable recommendations for different stakeholder groups (government, donors, country teams, local partners)

Course Objectives

This course will help you acquire highly transferable skills used by all applied political economy analysts. These skills are grounded in qualitative research methods and utilize all the traditional, new media, and meta-data resources at our disposal today.

At the conclusion of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand what the Doing Development Differently/Thinking and Working Politically paradigm change means for the international development industry
  • Learn how develop a thorough applied PEA scope of work, core, and list of supporting research questions.
  • To become proficient in PEA framework used by international donors
  • To select, design, and use tested research methods using new sources for traditional data, new media and meta-data
  • To know how to apply the PEA methodology to design and win new programs and manage them more adaptively
  • Be able to choose the appropriate level of PEA for the purpose of the research
  • Understand how to transform findings into actionable recommendations

Course Methodology

This course is delivered entirely online over a period of four weeks.

  • This course features several live interactive expert presentations each week
  • Each module is led by a recognized applied PEA expert
  • Every live event is recorded and archived for you to watch later.
  • Participants should recommend a minimum commitment of 3-5 hours per week to complete the course.
  • Participants will have access to all course content for at least 4 months after course completion, so the material can be completed and revisited later.
  • Upon completion of course requirements a certificate will be offered


  • $445 if application and payment is submitted by August 4th, 2019
  • $495 if application and payment is submitted by course start date
  • For organizations, a tailored course option is available.
  • Group discount rates available. For more details, please contact us at

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