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Advanced Topics in Experimental Clinical Psychology


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 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

  • 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