Department Methodology and Statistics
The Department of Methodology and Statistics is responsible for education and research in methodology and statistics for the social and behavioral sciences.
Methodology and statistics play an essential role in all subfields of the social and behavioral sciences, and related fields. At the Department of Methodology and Statistics we do research on and teach about quantitative and qualitative methods that researchers need in order to answer challenging research questions, come up with strong research designs, critically apply statistical analyses, and avoid bias when interpreting research findings. Within the department, there is a strong focus on developing novel statistical and methodological techniques to tackle complex problems in the social and behavioral sciences.
Our team further develops, extends, and improves methodological and statistical tools that social scientists need to carry out their research. We are active in the following research themes:
- Social science research methods: Improving social research using latent class analysis, social networking modeling, qualitative methods, and survey research.
- Meta-research: Using the scientific method to identify problems in the scientific system itself and create evidence based solutions.
- Psychometrics: Measuring unobservable attributes in psychological science and related fields.
- Data science: Developing computational algorithms for high-dimensional data and other complex forms of data (including text data).
- Bayesian statistics: Quantifying statistical uncertainty and learning more from data using prior knowledge.
Intensive longitudinal methods: Improving experience sampling methods (ESM) for intensive longitudinal data.
We teach methods and statistics in all bachelor programs and pre-master programs at the Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (TSB) and participate in co-teaching. Additionally we participate in programs offered outside TSB such as teaching introductory courses in methods and statistics in Liberal Arts and Sciences (University College), in the joint bachelor Data Science (Tilburg University and Technical University Eindhoven), in the bachelor Public Administration, and in the master program Data Science and Society.
In the Psychology Bachelor program, we offer the major track ‘Psychological Methods and Data Science’ that is intended for students with a special interest in methods and statistics and who wish to improve their educational profile with a more research background.
Finally, we participate in both Research Masters, Individual Differences and Assessment (IDA) and Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS), in our faculty. Within the SBS program we have our own Methods & Statistics track. This track is first and foremost intended for students who pursue an academic career in the field of research methodology and statistics.
At our department we are devoted to creating impact both on a scientific as well as on a societal level. We achieve this in different ways:
- Our department has a strong tradition in collaborative projects with other (substantive) research programs in our School and beyond such as the Tilburg Experience Sampling Center (TESC), the Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic diseases (CoRPS), the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS), and the Interuniversity Graduate School for Psychometrics and Sociometrics (IOPS).
- Our collaborations have, for example, contributed to a better understanding of:
- We implement novel statistical tools in (free) user-friendly software (such as R package and JASP modules) which ensures that scientists, applied researchers, and students can use our methods in an accessible manner to answer challenging research questions. To accompany this important dissemination step, we write introductory and tutorial papers about using these software packages which also help researchers to communicate their research findings to a broader audience.
- We are also strong advocates for Open Science. The majority of our work is published Open Access, many of our tools and R packages are open source and freely available, and where possible, we preregister our research plans and share our data. We also play an active role in the Open Science Community Tilburg and the Science Committee, dedicated to facilitating data sharing in our faculty.
- Finally, our department aims to make an impact by acquiring prestigious grants such as in NWO’s Talent Programs (e.g. Veni, Vidi, Vici) and ERC Grants, among others. We really see this as a team effort where colleagues invest time to help each other to refine research ideas, improve research proposals, and optimize interview presentations. This strategy has resulted in many successful applications which has boosted the impact of our research.