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Advanced Topics in Experimental Clinical Psychology


Important Note

  • All Semester II bachelor and master psychology courses and examinations (2020-2021) will be offered in an on-line format.

  • If it is safe and possible to do so, supplementary course meetings may be planned on-campus. However, attendance at these meetings will not be required to successfully complete Semester II courses.

  • All obligatory work groups and examinations will be offered on-line during Central European Time, which is local time in the Netherlands.

  • Information on the mode of instruction and the assessment method per course will be offered in Brightspace, considering the possibilities that are available at that moment. The information in Brightspace is leading during the Corona crisis, even if this does not match the information in the Prospectus.

Entry requirements

Only open to MSc Psychology (research) students


In this course we will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of various experimental and observational study designs, as well as the standards of conducting and reporting research in clinical psychology. New developments in research methodology will be discussed, in addition to more traditional methods. Papers on recent developments in psychotherapy and psychopharmacology research will be used as examples. Students will learn to express their critical views on design, reporting, and other aspects of etiological and interventional research (which have their own pitfalls and problems) in the form of peer reviews. The course prepares students for scientific work, including writing the Master’s thesis and designing and reporting clinical psychological studies, especially studies into assessment of therapeutic effectiveness. It will also prepare students to make evidence based evaluations of (novel) psychological treatments and interventions and their place in (clinical) health care policy, according to rigorous scientific methodology.

Course objectives

In this course, students learn:

  • To express a critical view on strengths and weaknesses of research designs typically used in clinical psychology;

  • To critically assess research papers on the merits of their chosen research strategies, design, ethical aspects, and adherence to reporting, and express this critical assessment in a peer review (skills that are important for a cientific career); and

  • To assess the value of recently developed research methods and understand to which type of studies they are applicable (skills that are important for decision making in (clinical) health care policy).


For the timetables of your work groups and exams, please select your study programme in: Psychology timetables

Work group sessions



Students need to enroll for work group sessions. Master’s course registration


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the date. Students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination. Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

  • 6 2-hour lectures

  • 7 2-hour seminars

100% attendance to the seminars is mandatory.

Assessment method

Final grade is based on:

  • Graded assignments (40%)

  • Participation in seminars (20%)

  • Final assignment (40%)

The final ‘take-home’ assignment (in English) will require students to master and integrate all course material as covered in the seven weeks of lectures, assignments and course literature.

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has instituted that instructors use a software programme for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. In case of fraud disciplinary actions will be taken.

Reading list

The book that is used in this course is: Kazdin, Alan E. (2017). Research Design in Clinical Psychology, Books a la Carte Edition, 5th Edition. New York: Pearson ISBN13: 9780205992089 (Please note: this book has been changed and updated significantly compared to the 4th edition). You might be able to find a second hand copy, but this title is no longer printed by the publisher. However, we have arranged for a custom made book (containing only the chapters that you need). This book can be purchased via as the title: "Experimental Clinical Psychology", author: "Putman, Peter", ISBN: 9781787645332.”

Furthermore, assignment papers from peer-reviewed scientific journals will be made available on Blackboard.

Contact information

Dr. Peter Putman