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Social Research Methods Part 3

Social Cost-Benefit Analysis

Delivered by Institute for Social Science Research


Develop the skills to understand and conduct cost-benefit analyses for social projects.

This 3-day course equips participants with an understanding and working knowledge of the theoretical and technical skills required to use cost-benefit analysis to evaluate projects, policies, programs or regulations with mainly social and non-monetary costs and benefits (e.g. environmental).

The course focuses on applying financial and economic principles and analysis to evaluating projects, policies, programs or regulations with a social focus rather than non-economic project evaluation methods.

It covers the underlying principles and theoretical concepts of cost-benefit analysis, as well as methods for calculating various measures of project profitability, including the Internal Rate of Return (IRR), the Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) and the Net Present Value (NPV).

The course uses a multi-account cost-benefit analysis framework, which allows you to evaluate and report on the net benefits of a project, policy, program or regulation from the perspective of each stakeholder, as well as an aggregate ‘all of society’ view, highlighting the distribution of costs and benefits among the various stakeholders.

The course also examines the principles and methods underlying non-market valuation methods and techniques for dollar valuation of non-monetary costs and benefits. This includes the potential uses and limitations of other methodologies, including Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis and accessibility of the various online resources on non-market valuation.

The course includes hands-on Excel exercises, including reporting the cost-benefit analysis results using a detailed, real-world case study.

This course will only proceed if there are 10 or more participants.

For more information, download the Methods for Social Analysis and Statistics brochure.

Upcoming courses

Delivery mode
online, online classroom
18–20 November 2024
9am–5pm (GMT+10) Brisbane time
Time commitment
21 hours

Who should attend

Social policy practitioners and research professionals, including those from government, NGO and research organisations, who want to develop their understanding and working knowledge of cost-benefit analysis techniques and their application in the decision-making process, including their role in regulatory impact statements. 

Entry requirements

  • There are no entry requirements, but a basic Microsoft Excel proficiency is advisable. 
  • The course assumes little or no prior knowledge of economics or cost-benefit analysis. 
  • You can do any Methods for Social Analysis and Statistics course in any order you wish.

What you'll learn

  • Understand the rationale for cost-benefit analyses, key concepts and economic principles, and how cost-benefit analyses can assist the policy and project decision-making process.
  • Gain practical experience using basic cost-benefit analysis processes and methods, including the use of spreadsheets.
  • Discuss the need for valuing and incorporating non-monetary costs and benefits, including those of a social or intangible nature.
  • Appreciate Social Return on Investment (SROI) for appraising projects with mainly intangible costs and benefits, as well as Social Impact Analysis (SIA) as prescribed by the Queensland Government.
  • Understand the limitations of cost-benefit analysis, including appropriate uses and caveats in interpreting results.
  • Understand how to apply sensitivity and threshold analysis.

Time commitment

This is an online course that will require roughly 21 hours to complete.

  • 3 full days (9am - 5pm AEST)

Course curriculum


There are no assessments for this short course.

Certification and accreditation

Students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion to verify their skills and achievements.


Dr Richard Brown
Dr Richard Brown
Honorary Associate Professor

The course gave me sufficient knowledge of cost-benefit analysis to assess analyses produced by others. It also gave me the knowledge to undertake cost-benefit analysis on existing data, and an understanding of the requirements for in-depth cost-benefit analysis. This course will benefit me in undertaking my current employment and future work. Policy analysts and advisers should attend this course.

Ian Jeffreys, RACQ


Applicant Price
Standard rate A$1,830
Early bird (book and pay 5 weeks before the course starts) A$1,519
Groups of 3 or more (per person) A$1,464
UQ students A$1,281
Other students A$1,373

Registration closes 7 days before the course starts.

The course will only proceed if there are 10 or more participants.

GST is included in the cost

Discounts can't be used with other discounts, offers or special promotions.

Payment options

We accept credit cards (Visa/MasterCard) for payment, including corporate credit cards. We can also invoice corporate and government clients. If you want to discuss payment options, please contact our team at

Related courses

This course is part of the Social Research Methods suite. There are 11 courses within this suite – see the other related courses below:


Institute for Social Science Research

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