This course introduces methodological concepts and data analysis techniques necessary to develop an understanding of conducting scientific research.


This course establishes a foundation of basic research skills by introducing key concepts of: the scientific method, research designs used in the behavioural and social sciences, a range of graphical and descriptive statistical techniques, statistical inference, hypothesis testing and the application of SPSS in data analysis.

This course can be taken individually or combined over a period of time towards a Postgraduate Certificate of Professional Development https://www.ulster.ac.uk/courses/course-finder/201718/postgraduate-certificate-of-professional-development-13809

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Coleraine campus

Our coastal and riverside campus with a primary academic focus on science and health

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About this course

In this section


This course seeks to introduce and develop participants’ knowledge of research in the behavioural and social sciences, with specific reference to using SPSS in terms of inputting data, data cleaning and manipulation, recoding and computing, using graphs to describe data, as well as a number of descriptive and inferential tests, for example, central tendency and dispersion, correlation and t-tests. The course employs an integrated framework linking research methodology, statistical concepts and data analysis using statistical software to establish a foundation of research skills.

The course covers the following area:

Introducing SPSS

• Starting a new SPSS session

• Basics of SPSS

• Opening an SPSS file

• Defining variables

• Entering data

• Screening and cleaning an SPSS file

• Recoding variables and computing total scores in SPSS

Descriptive statistics in SPSS

• Categorical and continuous variables

• Frequencies

• Measures of central tendency (mean and median)

• Measures of dispersion (range and standard deviation)

• Normality

• Outliers and extreme scores

• Graphical representations of data

• Calculating internal reliability in SPSS: Cronbach’s alpha

Hypothesis testing

• Null and alternative hypothesis

• Probability

• Introduction to inferential statistics

Choosing the right statistic

• Levels of measurement

• Independent and dependant variables

• Differences or associations

Inferential statistics

• Correlation in SPSS

• t-tests in SPSS

Linked programmes

PgCertPD Postgraduate Certificate of Professional Development, PgCert Quantitative Methods for the Behavioural and Social Sciences


100% Coursework - two online tests which will require differing levels of recoding and computing, analysis and interpretation.


This course requires attendance for two full days (9am - 5pm) during the period from 20 August to 31 August 2018 (dates to be confirmed).

Entry requirements

Degree in the behavourial or social sciences (e.g. psychology, geography, political science, health econmics, sociology or equivalent).

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must meet the minimum English entrance requirements of the University and will need to provide recent evidence of this (certified within the last two years).

Most of our courses require a minimum English level of IELTS 6.0 or equivalent, with no band score under 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement.

Please see details of the English language qualifications and certificates we can accept - https://www.ulster.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/177404/Other-english-language-tests-and-qualifications-2017.pdf

International applicants will also require a short-term study visa. Further information is available at https://www.ulster.ac.uk/international/visa-immigration

Start dates

  • 20 August 2018
How to apply


How to apply

The following page explains the postgraduate short course application procedure:


Start dates

  • 20 August 2018

Fees and funding

In this section


Northern Ireland & EU:
England, Scotland & Wales:

Fees information

Information about how to pay for a course including different payment options is available at


Scholarships, awards and prizes

Fee waivers may be available to those who meet the eligibility criteria. More information is available from FlexEd@ulster.ac.uk


Email: FlexEd@ulster.ac.uk

Telephone: (+44) 028 9036 6680

For more information visit

Faculty of Life and Health Sciences

School of Psychology