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Statistical Consulting (Statistical Science)


Admission Requirements

One should have obtained at least 45 ECTS from the compulsory courses of the program of the Statistical 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

The goals of this course are 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 Statistical Science programme -> Schedules

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.


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.

Mode of Instruction

A combination of lectures and practicals. The practicals consist of client meetings (i.e., meetings in which you talk to your client, observed by other students). The lectures will be online. The client meetings will be partly on campus and partly online. For the client meetings, the students will be divided into smaller groups. Details of the program 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.

Assessment Method

Final written report including reflection report (70%); final oral presentation (20%); active participation during the meetings (10%). Attendance of 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.

Course material

Various articles and book chapters on a) how to perform statistical consulting; b) the profession of an applied statistician; c) how to report statistical methods and results to non-statistical readers, and d) meta-scientific issues. The titles will be announced on Blackboard.

Contact information

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