Towards Evidence-Based Solutions to Our Social Problems

Public debates often involve the analysis of existing social problems and proposal of solutions. These social problems are, in general, sophisticated, thus interdisciplinary in nature. In recent years, more novel and scientific methods have been introduced to solve these sophisticated social problems. Researchers are using more and more evidence-based methods, namely, field and lab experiments, big data analysis, and ethnographic observation, to address social issues. This course provides an introduction of these evidence-based methods and demonstrates how to use them to solve social problems so as to achieve the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. The course is organized into four themes, each corresponding to an evidence-based method. In each of the themes, the course will cover recent empirical approaches to key social sustainability issues, including no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, reducing inequality, sustainable cities and communities, and climate action. The course not only guides the students to investigate these social sustainability problems of the world we are living in, but also inspires students to find out possible solutions.


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