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Applied Data Analysis

Course 2013-2014

Admission requirements

MSc students of Psychology, with the exception of students of the specialisation of Methodology and Statistics 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.


Applied Data Analysis (2013-2014):

Mode of instruction

Eight lectures in which techniques are explained and illustrated in the applied way described above. Five work groups in which the course assignments are discussed.

Attendance of workgroup meetings is obligatory.

Assessment method

Examination and graded take home assignment.

From January 1, 2006 the Faculty of Social Sciences has instituted the Ephorus system to be used by instructors for the systematic detection of plagiarism in students’ written work. Please see the information concerning fraud .


Information on

Reading list

  • Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using SPSS. Fourth Edition. London: Sage. ISBN (paperback): 9781446249185.
  • Lecture notes.

Enrolment and registration for the examination

NB: This course is not intended for master students in Methodology and Statistics.

Students need to enrol for the course via uSis at the Master enrolment day that takes place at the start of each semester. They have to further register for each examination. Students are not allowed to sit an examination without being registered. It is possible to register up as from 6 weeks to 10 calendar days before the examination


Course enrolment

Students need to enrol for the course via uSis on the master’s introduction and course enrolment day that takes place at the start of each semester. Please, consult the master’s agenda Psychology.

Exam registration

Students must register for each examination. Students, who haven’t registered, cannot participate in an exam

Contact information

Dr. P de Heus
Room 2A24
Tel.: 071-527 3716