Due to the Corona virus education methods or examination can deviate. For the latest news please check the course page in Brightspace.


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Applied Data Analysis


Please note: this course description is not fully up-to-date for the academic year 2021-2022. Updates will be published shortly.

Entry requirements

Open to master’s students in Psychology, with the exception of students of the specialisation of Methodology and Statistics and MSc Psychology (Research) students because of overlap with other courses.


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 will have been covered in Bachelor 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.


Course is offered two times a year.
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 in which techniques are explained and illustrated in the applied way described above.
6 work group sessions in which the course assignments are discussed. Attendance of work group sessions is mandatory.

Assessment method

The final grade is based on:
A written exam, consisting of multiple choice and essay questions (60%); and
The average grade of the five home assignments (40%).

The Institute of Psychology follows the policy of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences to systematically check student papers for plagiarism with the help of software. Disciplinary measures will be taken when fraud is detected. Students are expected to be familiar with and understand the implications of this fraud policy.

Reading list

  • Field, A. (2018). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics. Fifth Edition. London: Sage. ISBN (paperback): 9781526419521.
    In line with earlier announcements, you can still also use the fourth edition of the book.”

  • Lecture notes.

Contact information

Dr. Peter de Heus deheus1@fsw.leidenuniv.nl