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Statistical Consulting (Psychology)


Entry Requirements

Only open to Master students Methodology & Statistics, Institute of Psychology (entry requirement 10 ECTS of mandatory program), and Master students Statistical Science, Mathematical Institute (entry requirement 45 ECTS). Note that this course runs twice a year (in Semester 1 and Semester 2). Do not subscribe to Semester 1 when you do not satisfy the entry requirement.


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)


For the timetable of this course please refer to MyTimetable



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


You must register for each exam in My Studymap at least 10 days before the exam date. You cannot take an exam without a valid registration 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

This course is given twice a year in Semester 1 and Semester 2. The course consists of nine interactive lectures and nine consulting practicals (training sessions) with real clients. Note that the practical groups are determined in week 3 of the course, based on the distribution of the client projects. Plus one exam meeting that consists of final presentations.

The lectures support the performance of the client project and the writing of the final report. 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 are 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 presentation

  • Final written report

Final written report including reflection report (70%); final oral presentation (20%); active participation during the meetings (10%). Attendance to the lectures and client meetings (including performance of three 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 final 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.

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. All students are required to take and pass the Scientific Integrity Test with a score of 100% in order to learn about the practice of integrity in scientific writing. Students are given access to the quiz via a module on Brightspace. 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

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.

Contact information

Dr. Elise Dusseldorp