Module 3: Introductory Statistics. Basics of Statistical Inference


Dates - Venue - Description - Target audience - Exam
Course prerequisites - Teacher - Course material - Fees - Enrol


November 10, 17 and 24, December 1, 8, 15 and 22, 2015, from 5.30 pm till 9.30 pm. Each lecture is followed by a hands on practical session.


Faculty of Science, Campus Sterre, Krijgslaan 281, building S9, Ghent


This course aims to provide insight into basic statistical concepts with emphasis on practical applications. Mathematical formulae will be kept to a minimum. The theory and the methods of analysis will be extensively illustrated with examples relating to a wide variety of different fields.

We start with concise graphical and numerical descriptions of data obtained from observational or experimental studies. The most common and frequently used probability distributions of discrete and continuous variables will be presented. Statistical inference draws conclusions about a population based on sampled data. Chance variations are taken into account such that a level of confidence is attached to these conclusions.

We present the reasoning behind significance tests for the comparison of observed data with a hypothesis, the validity of which we want to assess. We apply this procedure to data obtained either from one or from two populations.

The correct use of the t-test will be discussed. Nonparametric methods are considered as a possible alternative in case the requirements of the t-test are not met.

We cover the basic concepts of hypothesis testing for categorical data, including the chi-square test.

Quite often the relationship between two variables, where the outcome of one variable is seen as depending on the value of the other, is the focus of scientific interest.

We will give an introduction to linear regression analysis, where a regression line based on observations obtained in a sample describes this relation.

Hands-on exercises are worked out behind the PC using the SPSS software. If preferred, participants can use SAS or R.

Target audience

This course will benefit professionals and investigators from diverse areas, research scientists, clinical research associates, investing in data handling and wishing to acquire insight into basic statistical methods or to refresh their knowledge and practice of statistics.


Participants can, if they wish, take part in an exam. Upon succeeding in this test a certificate from Ghent University will be issued to participants with a university degree at the bachelor level or an equivalent degree.

To qualify for reimbursement from the UGent Doctoral Schools one must attend all classes and pass the exam. Additional conditions and procedure.

Course prerequisites

The course is open to all. It is necessary to have an understanding of basic algebra (basic rules, solving equations, ...), exponents and square roots.


Foto van lesgever Els AdriaensDr. Els Adriaens (Adriaens Consulting bvba) studied biology, obtained a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences and a Master in Statistical Data Analysis at Ghent University.

She is consultant in statistical data analysis specialized in the field of the development and validation of alternatives to laboratory animals.


Course material

Copies of slides.

Recommended handbooks are:

  • Book 1: MEDICAL FIELD: "Fundamentals of Biostatistics", Bernard Rosner, 8th ed. (2015), Thomson Brooks/Cole (ISBN 978-0538733496).
    The examples used in this book are restricted to the field of bioscience. The book is therefore recommended if you have a background in a related research area, such as (veterinary) medicine, biotechnology, biology, pharmacy, a.s.o.
  • Book 2: ALL FIELDS: "Introduction to the Practice of Statistics", David S. Moore and George P. McCabe, 8th revised ed. (2014), W.H. Freeman (ISBN 978-1464158933).
    This book uses examples from a wide range of research areas and is therefore recommended if you have no background in the research areas mentioned for book 1.

Both books discuss the same topics, so it suffises to buy only one.


A different price applies, depending on your main type of employment.

EmploymentModule 3Book 1Book 2Exam
Industry/Private sector1 800 120 85 30
Non-profit, government, university outside AUGent2 360 120 85 30
(Doctoral)student outside AUGent2 280 120 85 30

1 If three or more employees from the same company enrol simultaneously for this course a reduction of 10% on the module price is taken into account.

2 AUGent-staff and AUGent doctoral students who pay through use of an SAP internal order/invoice can participate at these special rates.

Enrol for this course