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Statistics for the Social Sciences

Statistics for the Social Sciences

6 ECTS credits
150 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 1020439AER for all students in the 1st semester at a (A) Bachelor - preliminary level.

Information about this course is applicable on academic year 2017-2018.

1st semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method

Grading (scale from 0 to 20)

Can retake in second session
Taught in
Partnership agreement
  • Under interuniversity agreement for degree program
Faculty of Economic & Social Sciences & Solvay BS
Educational Team:
  • Pieter-Paul VERHAEGHE (course titular)
    Activities and contact hours
    • 26 contact hours Lecture
    • 39 contact hours Seminar, Exercises or Practicals
    Course content

    Descriptive and inferential statistics form a basic approach for doing social research. A statistical approach to social sciences research, however, enhances more than a mere application of statistics to gather and process data. The core of the course constitutes of the basic reasoning that underlies a statistical enquiry in the domain of the social sciences; the levels of measurement; the forms of data that can be processed; the definition of data; the calculation of measures of centrality, dispersion, shape and association; statistical inference; validity tests; and the interpretation of research results achieved through statistical applications.

    Course material
    • Handbook (Required): Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences, Pearson New International Edition, A. Agresti & B. Finlay, Pearson New International Edition, 9781292021669, 2013
    • Digital course material (Required): Digital course material on Pointcarré
    Additional info




    Programme Objectives

    General competences

    LO8: knows how to set up a scientific and methodologically correct research design.
    LO9: possesses the methodological knowledge and skills of data selection and data processing that prevail within the domains of the social sciences.
    LO10: masters the techniques of good and accurate research reporting in oral and written form.
    LO11: has an investigative, problem-oriented and critical attitude towards social, political and media-related phenomena and scientific research results with regard thereof.
    LO19: has knowledge of and insight into the main institutions, actors and processes of decision-making and policy-making of the European Union.

    The aim of this course is to introduce statistical concepts and techniques in the areas of descriptive as well as inferential statistics. By the end of this course students should be able to explain in their own words inferential- and descriptive-statistical concepts; to calculate measures of centrality, shape, dispersion and association; to apply probability rules; to elaborate upon the characteristics of theoretical and sampling distributions; and to explain and apply the principles of descriptive and inferential statistics.


    The final grade is composed based on the following categories:

    • Written Exam determines 80% of the final mark.
    • Other Exam determines 20% of the final mark.

    Within the Written Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

    Written Exam with a relative weight of 60 which comprises 60% of the final mark.

    Note: Written exam

    Intermediary tests with a relative weight of 20 which comprises 20% of the final mark.

    Note: Two intermediary tests

    Within the Other Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

    Assignments with a relative weight of 20 which comprises 20% of the final mark.

    Note: Assignments about statistical exercises in Excel or SPSS

    Additional info with regard to grading

    Formative evaluation:

    Under the supervision of the teaching assistants, students are taught during seminars, exercises and computer assisted practicals to apply the statistical techniques to specific EU-related research questions. Afterwards, their skills are evaluated in assignments about statistical exercises in Excel or SPSS.

    Summative evaluation:

    Written examination about the knowledge, application and interpretation of statistical techniques.