UCL Learning Portfolio


Understanding Statistical Concepts in Research
Course Description:

Course schedule:

  1. Tuesday 21st November 2023 (9:30-16:30)
  2. Wednesday 22nd November 2023 (9:30-16:30)
  3. Tuesday 28th November (13:30-16:30)
  4. Wednesday 29th November 2023 (9:30-16:30)
  5. Thursday 30th November 2023 (9:30-16:30)

This is an introductory but intensive programme on the practical application of statistical methods in research, the course is run over 4.5 days across two weeks. Approximately two-thirds of the participants are working in medical or clinical research, hence most, but not all, examples used throughout the course are from these fields. However, the concepts can be easily applied to any other subject. 

Students start from the basics and work up to advanced methods. A major feature of this course is that there is no algebra or presentation of the mechanics of the statistical methods used, which students say has been a hindrance to understanding medical statistics when taught elsewhere. All analyses should be done with statistical packages, without the need to understand in detail how the methods work. 

Our goal is to concentrate on knowing when to use the most appropriate statistical method for each analysis, but importantly, properly understanding the output and how study design influences the results. Terms such as confidence intervals and p-values are presented using simple language.

Exercises are covered each day and discussed with tutors within the sessions, whilst allowing time to ask questions about course material covered to that point. There is also a one-to-one consultancy service for students who attend the course to see one of the tutors for specific advice on their project or for help with running analyses in statistical software (usually SPSS). 

This course has been very successful with students (see previous feedback posted on the website), due to the significant interaction between them and the tutors. Comprehensive notes to accompany each session are made available at the start of the course so that students have these to hand throughout.

The sessions will cover:

  • Understanding the different types of data
  • Checking, summarising and displaying each type of data
  • Correlations and making comparisons
  • Statistical significance
  • Simple statistical tests
  • Regression analyses considering one factor or multiple factors at the same time
  • Sample size considerations, and problems with small studies
  • Interpreting results, and formulating conclusions

This course is due to be delivered face-to-face and will be held at: 5th Floor Seminar Room, 90 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 4TJ


By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Understand the statistical aspects of study design and analysis
  • Interpret research information and consider the implication of statistical results
  • Be aware of the different types of study design used in research, and understand the concepts of association and causality
  • Critically appraise published papers, and question the basis on which conclusions are drawn, using an understanding of research methodology and statistics
Intended Audience:
Research staff, and postgraduate research students at any stage of their projects, either with little/no knowledge of statistics or those who wish to refresh their memory.
Target Audience: UCL Research Staff and PG Research students only
Course Contact:
Further Information:
21/11/2023 - 30/11/2023  (Enrol between 06/09/2023 and 17/11/2023) Enrol

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