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Course module: BMB507217
Basics of Biostatistics
Course info
Course codeBMB507217
ECTS Credits4.5
Category / LevelM (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byFaculty of Medicine; Graduate School of Life Sciences; Graduate School of Life Sciences, fac. GNK;
Contact persondr. P. Westers
C.L.J.J. Kruitwagen
Other courses by this lecturer
dr. P. Westers
Other courses by this lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. P. Westers
Other courses by this lecturer
Teaching period
BMS P2 A  (12/11/2018 to 01/02/2019)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slot-: Not in use
Study mode
RemarkBasic of Biostatistics is a 'Blended course'. The lectures of this course are offered online via Elevate
Enrolment periodfrom 17/09/2018 18:00 up to and including 30/09/2018 23:59
Enrolling through OSIRISYes
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesYes
Post-registration openfrom 01/11/2018 18:00 up to and including 02/11/2018 23:59
Waiting listYes
Course placement processadministratie onderwijsinstituut
At the end of the course the student:
  1. has knowledge of the role that statistics plays in academic research;
  2. has knowledge of basic statistical techniques that are used to analyze data, and knows the conditions under which they are appropriate;
  3. has insight in which techniques are applicable in which situation;
  4. can apply these techniques by hand and by using statistical software (SPSS);
  5. is able to interpret the results from the statistical analysis;
  6. can report these results in the context of the research question.
Period (from – till):  12 November 2018 - 7 December 2018

The more detailed programme of the course will follow when available.
Paul Westers, GNK (coordinator)
Cas Kruitwagen, GNK (weblecturer)
Rebecca Stellato, GNK (weblecturer)

Course description
Please note:Basic of Biostatistics is a 'Blended course'. The lectures of this course are offered online via Elevate and are self-studies. During the course there are some optional face-to-face meetings with the lecturers. These meetings are held at UMC Utrecht.

The four week course(4,5 ECTS, 32 hours per week)  provides an introduction to statistical methodology and supplies a number of statistical techniques important for practical data analysis. Examples from the medical and biological fields will be used in exercises. Datasets will be analyzed on the computer using the statistical package SPSS. The first part covers the "Basics of Biostatistics", statistical testing for one and two samples, confidence intervals, simple linear regression and correlation, one way analysis of variance, binomial distribution and proportions, analysis of contingency tables and non-parametric statistics. The second part covers an "Introduction to Modeling" and introduces the most important regression models used in biomedical research, that can be used in the study of the relation between a number of explanatory variables on the one hand, and the occurrence of an outcome on the other: multiple regression and logistic regression.
Note: Some basic statistical notions will be assumed known, such as measures of location (mean, median) and scale (variance, standard deviation), the normal distribution, standard error of the mean. They will not explicitly be repeated in the course, but will be used implicitly. If necessary, participants should refresh their knowledge using a statistics book used in previous courses, or using the statistics e-books.

Literature/study material used:
During the course all the course material will be online available. Besides this online material you can use also one of the following statistical books:
  • W.W. Daniel, Biostatistics: Basic Concepts and Methodology for the Health Sciences, International student version, 9th Edition. John Wiley & Sons, 2010;
  • P. Armitage, G. Berry and J.N.S. Matthews, Statistical Methods in Medical Research, 4th edition. Wiley-Blackwell, 2001;
  • M.C. Whitlock and D. Schluter. The Analysis of Biological Data. Roberts and Company Publishers, 2009;
  • J.H. Zar, Biostatistical Analysis, 5th Edition. Pearson Education International, 2010.
The first two books have more medical examples, whereas the last two books more biological examples. These reference books remain useful long after you have completed the course. They can be obtained from scientific bookstores. You are not obliged to use any of these books during the course.
Brief manuals of SPSS are included in the workbook of the course. If you are interested in more detailed manuals we recommend one of the following books:
  • A. de Vocht, Basishandboek SPSS 16, Bijleveld, 2008;
  • A. Field, Discovering Statistics Using SPSS, 3rd edition. SAGE Publications Ltd, 2009;
  • The very extended help function of SPSS itself.
An overview of all kinds of statistical hyperlinks (books, applets, software et cetera) on the internet is also given in the online course manual.

The examination consists of two parts, namely:
  1. a case study (25% of final grade)
  2. a final test (75% of final grade) consisting of open and multiple choice questions.
The grades for both parts should be at least 5the final test must be at least 5. To pass for the course the final grade should be at least 5.5. If the final grade is lower than 4 it is not allowed to do the re-exam, except if there is a permission from the exam committee.
Furthermore active (online) attendance is mandatory.

You can apply for this course through Osiris Student.
The course registrations of the course will be open at specific intervals based on the starting date.
See the information on the Study Guide. Registration for these courses will open in the second half of September.

Students will be dived into four groups. The number of students per group is limited to 15 (60 students in total).

Mandatory for students in own Master’s programme:
Optional for students in other GSLS Master’s programme:

Prerequisite knowledge
Although active statistical knowledge is not a prerequisite, we assume some basic knowledge on statistics and mathematics acquired through, for example, courses in biostatistics in the bachelor programme or self study.

The basic knowledge we assume are:
1) the concepts of population and sample;
2) histogram, boxplot, frequency table, scatterplot, contingency table;
3) mean, median, mode;
4) variance, standard deviation, range, interquartile range, standard error of the mean;
5) probability, probability distributions (especially the normal distribution).

If you want to refresh your basic knowledge we recommend one of the following sources of information (see also study material):
  • Chapters 1 till 5 of the book of W.W. Daniel;
  • Chapters 1 till 3 of the book of P. Armitage, G. Berry and J.N.S. Matthews;
  • Chapters 1 2, 3, 5 and 10 of the book of M.C. Whitlock and D. Schluter;
  • Chapters 1 till 6 of the book of J.H. Zar;
  • Module A and B of the Dutch E-learning software COSO (ComputerOndersteund StatistiekOnderwijs). It requires the (free) software authorware to run;
  • Module I, II, III, V of the very advanced online textbook Online Statbook;
  • Modules 1 and 2 (e-book) and/or module 1 (exercises) of CAST (Computer-Assisted Statistics Textbooks) that consists of a collection of electronic textbooks (e-books).
Several weeks before the start of the course there will be a test available for testing your basic knowledge on statistics and mathematics. It is then also possible to ask questions with respect to the basic knowledge to the lecturers. Both will be features of the Elevate environment of this course.
Entry requirements
Required materials
Instructional formats
Computer practical

Core lecture



Final result
Test weight100
Minimum grade5.5

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