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Introduction to Research Methods and Statistics (IBP)


Entry requirements



Topics discussed in this course include: empirical reasoning; deriving a verifiable research idea; selecting data collection methods; determining reliability and validity; using descriptive statistics; standard normal distribution, relationships between variables; experimental control, experimental designs; describing and explaining variance.

Course objectives

  • Acquiring knowledge of core concepts and basic principles of the methodology of psychological research and the way these are interrelated.

  • Acquiring knowledge about and skills of working with descriptive statistics.

  • Acquiring the necessary skills in working with the SPSS statistical package for descriptive statistics.
    Note: A detailed list of course objectives will be available on Blackboard.


For the timetables of your lectures, work group sessions, and exams, select your study programme.
Psychology timetables

Lectures Work group sessions Exams



The Student Services Centre enrolls first-year students in lectures and work groups. However, students must register themselves in exams.
After the first year, students must register themselves in the first year course component they need to repeat: lectures, work groups and exams. A second (or higher) year student who needs only to repeat the SPSS skills test is required to attend the four SPSS work group meetings again. As such, he/she must also register again for these SPSS work groups. Enrolling for workgroups


Students are not automatically enrolled for an examination. They can register via uSis from 100 to 10 calendar days before the exam date; students who are not registered will not be permitted to take the examination. Registering for exams

Mode of instruction

8 2-hour lectures, 8 2-hour mandatory tutorial sessions and 7 extra tutorial sessions.

The lectures

Each course week begins with a lecture to introduce and explain course material. The lectures also cover additional and new topics that are included in the examination. As preparation for the lectures students are required to study the chapters assigned for that week. The lectures primarily focus on course objectives A and B.

The tutorials

The day after the lecture there is a tutorial session. These sessions focus on applying the acquired knowledge in practice. Students also learn to work with SPSS, a software package for statistical data analysis. The material covered in these work group sessions is also included in the examination. Students are required to bring the exercise book to every session. Attendance is mandatory. The tutorials focus on course objectives A, B, and C.

The extra tutorials

In the extra work group sessions at the end of the week students are offered the opportunity to get some further practice in statistical calculations, by hand or using SPSS. All students who would benefit from this extra support are free to attend these sessions.

Assessment method

The assessment consists of two components:
1. A written examination consisting of 40 multiple-choice questions, each with 4 alternatives, covering both theory and statistical calculations from the literature, the work group sessions, and the lectures (Course objectives A and B).
2. An SPSS skills test covering the various aspects of students’ skills in working with SPSS as well as in describing and interpreting statistical output (Course objective C).

The final grade is a weighted average of the examination grade (70%) and the grade for the SPSS skills test (30%). To obtain the course credits students must have final grade of 5.5 or higher, and both the examination and skills test grade must be 5.0 or higher.

Regulations on grade calculation

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. Please see the information concerning fraud.

Reading list

  • Leary, M.L. (2012) Introduction to Behavioral Research Methods (6th edition). Boston: Pearson. (Ch. 1-7, 9, 10, 13, and 14) ISBN 978-1-29202-027-3

  • Howell, D.C. (2014). Statistical Methods for Psychology (Leiden edition). Wadsworth: Cengage Learning. (Ch. 1-3, and 9) ISBN 978-1-4737-2028-2

  • Pallant, J. (2016). SPSS Survival Manual (6th edition). Berkshire: McGraw-Hill. (Ch. 1-8 and 11) ISBN 978-0-03352-6154-3

  • IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows (version to be announced). Armonk, NY: IBM Corp., [].

  • Workbook Introduction to Research Methods and Statistics

  • Lecture slides Introduction to Research Methods and Statistics

Contact information