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Applied Data Analysis


Admission requirements

MSc students of Psychology, not of the specialization of Methodology and Statistics


The following subjects are covered by the course:

  • Univariate analysis: description of frequency distributions and measures of central tendency and variation;

  • Bivariate analysis: estimating and testing relationships between two variables;

  • Dimension reduction and scale construction: finding underlying dimensions for a set of items, and estimating reliability and validity for psychological scales;

  • Regression and analysis-of-variance: predicting one variable by a set of other variables;
    Most of the techniques have been covered in earlier courses. What’s new is that in the set of course assignments students are consistently placed in the role of psychological researchers, and are asked to practice doing the following:

  • Choosing the most appropriate statistical technique given the nature of the research question and the data;

  • Applying the techniques with SPSS on real, “dirty” data, which implies a strong emphasis on trouble shooting: most notably, the student should be able to check and provide remedies for assumption violations and outliers;
    Reporting the results in an appropriate way (both technically and psychologically), in accordance (at least globally) with APA-standards for text, tables, and figures.

Course objectives

The general objective of the course is to give students the knowledge of and practical skills in the most commonly used data analysis techniques that they might need for their masters thesis in psychology.
The more specific goals are the following:

  • Learning to understand the general principles, possibilities and complications, especially in regard to the assumptions of the techniques discussed in the course.

  • Learning to choose the right technique for a research question and to perform the appropriate data analyses with SPSS.

  • Learning to report the results of these data analyses following the APA rules for scientific writing in psychology.


Applied Data Analysis (2010-2011):

Mode of instruction

Eight lectures in which techniques are explained and illustrated in the applied way described above. Five working groups in which the course assignments are discussed.

Assessment method

Examination and graded take home assignment.

From January 1, 2006 the Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted the Ephorus system to be used by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud .


Information on

Reading list

  • Field, A. (2009). Discovering statistics using SPSS. Third Edition. London: Sage. ISBN (paperback): 9781847879073.

  • Lecture notes.


This course is not intended for masters students in Methodology and Statistics.

Introduction and enrolment for courses of the first semester will take place in August 2010. Introduction and enrolment for courses of the second semester will take place in January 2011. More information will be available at the website of the Institute of Psychology.

NB: Exam registration will take place via uSis, and will be open between a month and a week before the (re)exam. Students who haven’t registered, cannot participate in the exam.

Contact information

Dr. P de Heus
Room 2A24
Tel.: 071-527 3716