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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



Students must register themselves for all course components (lectures, tutorials and practicals) they wish to follow. You can register up to 5 days prior to the start of the course.


It is mandatory for all students to register for each exam and to confirm registration for each exam in My Studymap. This is possible up to and including 10 calendar days prior to the examination. You cannot take an exam without a valid pre-registration and confirmation in My Studymap. Carefully read all information about the procedures and deadlines for registering for courses and exams.

Exchange students and external guest students will be informed by the education administration about the current 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. Judie Hall Dr. Ineke van der Ham