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Methods in Clinical Neuropsychological Research


Entry requirements

Open to master’s students in Psychology.

Course description

This course enhances students’ academic foundation in preparation of writing the master’s thesis, evidence-based work in clinical practice, and/or research career paths.

Neuropsychological research aims to understand the relationship between brain (dysfunction) and behavior. More fundamental neuropsychological research focuses on understanding cognitive and behavioral mechanisms, and how these are impacted by changes in brain structure and function, while more clinically oriented research studies (improvements in) neuropsychological performance, diagnostics and treatment. This course will discuss a range of study designs and methods that are commonly used in neuropsychological research of both types. This includes observational designs, both cross-sectional and longitudinal, and treatment evaluation designs, ranging from case reports and single case experimental design to randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Furthermore, a strong focus on physiological measurements will highlight contemporary ways in which the link between brain and behavior is studied, in the lab but especially in applied clinical settings. Examples of topics are meta-analysis, longitudinal cohort studies, clinical significance, biomarkers, MRI, EEG, etc.

Strengths and weaknesses of these designs and methods will be discussed. The course also addresses relevant issues regarding research ethics and scientific integrity. At the end of this course, students will be able to identify strengths and weaknesses of published neuropsychological research and formulate suggestions for improvement. It also offers the opportunity to further explore personal affinity with research, which helps preparing for career choices.

Course objectives

Students will:

  1. Gain knowledge of research designs and methods typically used in clinical neuropsychology and learn to reflect upon their strengths and weaknesses;

  2. Learn to critically assess research papers in the field of neuropsychology on the merits of their chosen research strategies, design, ethical aspects, and adherence to reporting standards; and

  3. Learn to assess relevance of research papers for possible integration in clinical practice.


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable


NOTE As of the academic year 2021-2022, you must register for all courses in uSis.
You do this twice a year: once for the courses you want to take in semester 1 and once for the courses you want to take in semester 2.
Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from early August. Registration for courses in the first semester is possible from December. The exact date on which the registration starts will be published on the website of the Student Service Center (SSC)

By registering for a course you are also automatically registered for the Brightspace module. Anyone who is not registered for a course therefore does not have access to the Brightspace module and cannot participate in the first sit of the exam of that course.
Also read the complete registration procedure

Mode of instruction

  • 8 lectures (2 hours each). Attendance is not mandatory. Weblectures will be made available.

Assessment method

100% Exam – 40 MC questions (course objectives 1, 2 and 3).

All literature (book chapters, plus relevant articles as mentioned in the yearly-updated reading list on Brightspace), as well as the contents of the lectures will be part of the exam. The grade should be 5.5 or higher.

Reading list

  • Several chapters from: McKay, D. (2008). Handbook of research methods in abnormal and clinical psychology. Sage. (Low-priced used books are widely available through international internet book sellers).

  • Additional relevant articles and book chapters (2-3 per lecture)

Contact information

Dr. Ilse Schuitema Dr. Rebecca Schaefer