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Statistical Consulting (Statistical Science)


Admission Requirements

One should have obtained at least 45 ECTS from the courses of the program of the Statistics & Data Science master.


Consulting is an integral part of an applied statistician’ s life, whether working in academia, government or industry. Statistical and methodological consultation may involve brief interactions to respond to very specific technical questions of a single client, or long term associations as a member of research projects. It always involves a form of ‘ reverse reasoning’, that is, figuring out the conclusion you want to come to, and finding a way to get there. Specifically, the consultant’ s problem is: What statistical procedure(s) could provide an appropriate answer to the client’ s research question, within all practical constraints? During the course, every two students will carry out a statistical consultation project with an actual client.

Course objectives

After this course the student is able to:
1. identify and recognize issues in a client project relevant for a statistical consultant, such as: research question, study design, sampling procedure, and measurement instruments;
2. choose and apply (an) appropriate analysis technique(s) to answer the client's research question(s);
3. effectively communicate the choice of analysis technique, the statistical assumptions, the analysis results and how these answer the research question to the client (both orally and in writing)


The course is scheduled twice a year (in the 1st and 2nd semester). See the Leiden University students' website for the Statistics and Data Science programme.

The date of handing in the report, and the dates when each student will receive a client with a statistical problem will be agreed upon during the first lectures.

Mode of instruction

A combination of lectures and practicals. The lectures support the performance of the client project and the writing of the final report. The final report follows the lines of a substantive article (i.e., a paper written from the perspective of the client). The practicals consist of client meetings (i.e., meetings in which you talk to your client, observed by other students). For the client meetings, the students will be divided into smaller groups. The program and a syllabus is available on Brightspace and details will be announced on the first lecture day. An overview of the client projects for which the students can indicate their preference will be available a few days before the first lecture day on Brightspace. The students need to send their preference before the first lecture.

We aim for on-campus teaching where possible, but we anticipate some meetings will be online or have a hybrid form.

Assessment method

Final written report including reflection report (70%); final oral presentation (20%); active participation during the meetings (10%). Attendance to the lectures and client meetings is obligatory during the whole course. The weighted average of the grades of the written report, presentation and participation determines your final grade. Additionally, the grade on each of the three assessment criteria of the written report should be at least a 5.5 to pass this course. When a revision is needed of the final written report, the maximum grade for the revised report will be a 6.5.

Reading list

Various articles and book chapters on a) how to perform statistical consulting; b) how to handle missing data, and initial data analysis; c) how to report statistical methods and results to non-statistical readers, and d) ethical issues. Links to the articles will be provided on Brightspace.


It is mandatory to register for the course in Usis. Please see the student website on how to register.

If you wish to do this course in the second semester, please register for the course with the Psychology usis code.


Dr. E. Dusseldorp (1st and 2nd semester) and Dr. Ir. N. van Geloven (1st semester)
elise [dot] dusseldorp [at] fsw [dot] leidenuniv [dot] nl and N [dot] van [underscore] Geloven [at] lumc [dot] nl