Courses on quantitative methods/statistics for a distance learner

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    Tessa Mearns

    Hi all,


    I am a first-year PhD student, based in the Netherlands and studying part-time in the UK. I am planning on using mixed methods in my research, but I need a better basis in quantitative methods and, in particular, statistics.


    Does anyone know of a useful course on basic quantitative data analysis/statistics?


    I work during term-time so courses would either need to be short (a few days), during the holidays or based in the Netherlands (Dutch or English-language). I have already looked at the NCRM courses in the UK but I think I don’t have enough prior knowledge of statistics for them…


    I’d really appreciate any advice you can offer me.






    Tessa, I’m in a similar position.  Can anyone recommend courses or reading on statistics for those of us who can only get so far with statistics?


    Hi Tessa,


    A lot of the kind of courses you are talking about are generally taught on an intensive one- or two-week hands-on basis such as the excellent short-term courses at the London School of Hygeine and Tropical Medicine ( – this is for the reasons that Dave Collingridge outlines below, i.e. that it is important to be able to ask questions and ‘test out’ your own knowledge with the facilitator.


    However, if you are really stuck for alternatives, a possible option is that the US-based Information Institute (a not-for-profit consortium) offer a number of “webinar” courses on using R for statistical analysis which start at a very basic level. One of them is running in July and the URL is


    I should stress that I have not done one of these courses and cannot vouch for their quality or content but I did hear about them through a reputable source and they appear very reasonably priced and within the budget of a research student.


    Hope this is helpful, and good luck!



    Tessa Mearns

    Hi Mark,


    Thanks for your help. At a first glance, I think all of the London courses are for scientists, but I’ll scour the website a bit more before ruling it out. I would never have thought of doing an online course – I’ll keep it in mind as a last resort.



    Jeremy Miles

    Essex Social Science data analysis Summer School,

    University of Hertfordshire statistical consulting unit runs one or two day courses.

    Ulster University runs a summer school, and occasional single day courses (I’m teaching one in a couple of weeks on multilevel models).

    Chris Stride at Sheffield University runs courses:

    Tessa Mearns

    Hi Jeremy,


    These look great – thanks! I’ll look into them.



    Tessa Mearns

    Hi Linda,


    I found a course called ‘Understanding the Basics of Statistical Analysis, run by SRA Scotland: It’s handy for me as my parents live within commuting distance of Edinburgh. 


    The main SRA seems to have some good courses too, although not on stats at the moment:


    I’ve also bought myself ‘Statistics for Dummies’ to get me started, although I haven’t looked at it much yet…


    Good luck!



    Yuanyuan Mao

    Dear Tessa,

    Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences, this book maybe is helpful for you. It is especially suitable for the begginner in statistics. The authors of this book are Gravetter rederick J. and Wallnau Larry .

    Maybe i can give some advice on basic quantitative data if you let me know what kind of data you are going to proccess.

    My email adress is





    While we are on the topic, is there someone out there who uses the OPEN SOURCE package R rather than the ubiquitous SPSS. I am a big fan of open source. Any ideas? I would love to have an online guide who can help me understand this program.

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