About this Course
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313 reviews
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Flexible deadlines

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Hours to complete

Approx. 39 hours to complete

Suggested: 8 weeks, 4-5 hours/week...
Available languages


Subtitles: English, Chinese (Simplified)
100% online

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Flexible deadlines

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Hours to complete

Approx. 39 hours to complete

Suggested: 8 weeks, 4-5 hours/week...
Available languages


Subtitles: English, Chinese (Simplified)

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Hours to complete
2 hours to complete

Before we get started...

In this first module we'll consider the basic principles of the scientific method, its history and its philosophies. But before we start talking methods, I'll give you a broad sense of what the course is about and how it's organized. Are you new to Coursera or still deciding whether this is the course for you? Then make sure to check out the 'Introduction' and 'What to expect' section below, so you'll have the essential information you need to decide and to do well in this course! If you have any questions about the course format, deadlines or grading, you'll probably find the answers here. Are you a Coursera veteran and anxious to get started? Then you might want to skip ahead to the first course topic: the Origins of the Scientific Method. You can always check the general information later. Veterans and newbies alike: Don't forget to introduce yourself in the 'meet and greet' forum!...
2 videos (Total 6 min), 9 readings
Video2 videos
Welcome to quantitative methods!3m
Reading9 readings
Hi there!10m
How to navigate this course10m
How to contribute10m
General info - What will I learn in this course?10m
Course format - How is this course structured?10m
Requirements - What resources do I need?10m
Grading - How do I pass this course?10m
Contact - How do I stay informed?10m
Team - Who created this course?10m
Hours to complete
5 hours to complete

Origins of the scientific method

Science is all about gaining knowledge, coming up with the best possible explanations of the world around us. So how do we decide which explanation is the best one? How do we make sure our explanations are accurate? How do we determine we actually know something? In science we try to resolve these questions by using a set of principles and procedures called the scientific method. You need to know its historical and philosophical 'origin story' to really understand the scientific method and to fully appreciate how hard it is to apply the scientific method in the social and behavioral sciences! ...
14 videos (Total 85 min), 9 readings, 2 quizzes
Video14 videos
1.02 Scientific Method8m
1.03 Scientific Claims5m
1.04 Classical Period8m
1.05 Enlightenment6m
1.06 Modern Science7m
1.07 Epistemology4m
1.08 Ontology5m
1.09 Approaches7m
1.10 Goals5m
Origins - Interview - Gerben Moerman (Part 1 of 4)3m
Origins - Interview - Gerben Moerman (Part 2 of 4)2m
Origins - Interview - Gerben Moerman (Part 3 of 4)8m
Origins - Interview - Gerben Moerman (Part 4 of 4)7m
Reading9 readings
What makes knowledge scientific?10m
What are the essential qualities of a systematic method?10m
What's the difference between a hypothesis and a theory?10m
Who developed the scientific method and when?10m
What is your philosophy of science?10m
Do you prefer your science hard or soft?10m
Honor Code - Integrity in this course10m
Transcripts: Origins10m
About the interview10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Hours to complete
5 hours to complete

The Scientific Method

In the first module we discussed how the scientific method developed, general philosophical approaches and the types of knowledge science aims to find. In this second module we'll make these abstract principles and concepts a little more concrete by discussing the empirical cycle and causality in more detail. We’ll see how, and in what order these concepts are implemented when we conduct a research study. We'll also consider the main criteria for evaluating the methodological quality of a research study: Validity and reliability. The focus will be on internal validity and how internal validity can be threatened....
13 videos (Total 68 min), 8 readings, 3 quizzes
Video13 videos
2.02 (Dis)confirmation4m
2.03 Criteria5m
2.04 Causality3m
2.05 Internal Validity Threats: Participants4m
2.06 Internal Validity Threats: Instruments5m
2.07 Internal Validity Threats: Artificiality5m
2.08 Internal Validity Threats: Research setup5m
2.09 Variables of Interest4m
2.10 Variables of Disinterest5m
Scientific Method - Interview - Marjan Bakker (Part 1 of 3)5m
Scientific Method - Interview - Marjan Bakker (Part 2 of 3)5m
Scientific Method - Interview - Marjan Bakker (Part 3 of 3)6m
Reading8 readings
What would be your 'recipe' for the scientific method?10m
What will it take for you to accept a hypothesis?10m
What do you look for in a good research study?10m
How do you identify what caused an effect?10m
What makes a causal explanation less likely?10m
What different relations and roles can variables have?10m
Transcripts: Scientific Method10m
About the interview10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Informed Consent Form2m
Scientific Method20m
Hours to complete
5 hours to complete

Research Designs

In the previous module we discussed the empirical cycle, causality and the criteria for methodological quality, focusing on threats to internal validity. In this module we'll consider the most frequently used research designs and we'll see how they address threats to internal validity. We'll look at experimental, quasi-experimental and correlational designs, as well as some other designs you should be familiar with. To understand and appreciate these designs we will discuss some general concepts such as randomization and matching in a little more detail....
15 videos (Total 74 min), 8 readings, 2 quizzes
Video15 videos
3.02 Factorial Designs3m
3.03 Repeated Measures3m
3.04 Manipulation5m
3.05 Lab vs. Field5m
3.06 Randomization6m
3.07 Experimental Designs4m
3.08 Matching6m
3.09 Quasi-Experimental Designs6m
3.10 Correlational Designs4m
3.11 Other Designs3m
Research Designs - Interview - Maarten Bos (Part 1 of 4)5m
Research Designs - Interview - Maarten Bos (Part 2 of 4)6m
Research Designs - Interview - Maarten Bos (Part 3 of 4)4m
Research Designs - Interview - Maarten Bos (Part 4 of 4)3m
Reading8 readings
What are the essential features of a true experiment?10m
What are other ways of comparing?10m
How do manipulation and control work (in the lab vs the field)?10m
What experimental designs can you think of?10m
What if you cannot assign randomly?10m
What if you can't manipulate either?10m
Transcripts: Research Designs10m
About the interview10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Research Designs22m
Hours to complete
5 hours to complete


Choosing a design is only the first step in the deduction phase (remember the empirical cycle?). The second step is deciding on specific ways to measure the variables of interest and disinterest. This step is extremely important, because even if we are able to perform a true double-blind experiment, if our measurement and manipulation method are of poor quality, then internal validity will still be compromised! In this module we'll look at what measurement is exactly and what the criteria for evaluating measurement are. We will also look more in-depth at self-report measures, including survey, questionnaires and tests. These methods are among the most frequently used measurement instruments in the social and behavioral sciences....
14 videos (Total 71 min), 6 readings, 2 quizzes
Video14 videos
4.02 Measurement Structure4m
4.03 Measurement Levels5m
4.04 Variable Types4m
4.05 Measurement Validity5m
4.06 Measurement Reliability5m
4.07 Survey, Questionnaire, Test4m
4.08 Scales and Response Options5m
4.09 Response and Rater Bias4m
4.10 Other Measurement Types4m
Measurement - Interview - Andries van der Ark (Part 1 of 4)5m
Measurement - Interview - Andries van der Ark (Part 2 of 4)3m
Measurement - Interview - Andries van der Ark (Part 3 of 4)8m
Measurement - Interview - Andries van der Ark (Part 4 of 4)3m
Reading6 readings
How do you measure something?10m
What is measurement exactly?10m
How do you know whether you have used the right instrument?10m
How are measures constructed and what are their features?10m
Transcripts: Measurement10m
About the interview10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
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Top Reviews

By LGJan 5th 2018

This course was excellent in all aspects, including the interesting and extensive material, as well as Dr. Annemarie Zand Scholten's brilliant lectures that help students digest and enjoy the content.

By ALMay 8th 2018

It is well-structured and informative. The pop up questions are interactive and the animation is fun. I have learned a lot from the video instruction, recommended readings, and assignments. Thanks.



Annemarie Zand Scholten

Assistant Professor
Economics and Business

About University of Amsterdam

A modern university with a rich history, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) traces its roots back to 1632, when the Golden Age school Athenaeum Illustre was established to train students in trade and philosophy. Today, with more than 30,000 students, 5,000 staff and 285 study programmes (Bachelor's and Master's), many of which are taught in English, and a budget of more than 600 million euros, it is one of the largest comprehensive universities in Europe. It is a member of the League of European Research Universities and also maintains intensive contact with other leading research universities around the world....

About the Methods and Statistics in Social Sciences Specialization

Identify interesting questions, analyze data sets, and correctly interpret results to make solid, evidence-based decisions. This Specialization covers research methods, design and statistical analysis for social science research questions. In the final Capstone Project, you’ll apply the skills you learned by developing your own research question, gathering data, and analyzing and reporting on the results using statistical methods....
Methods and Statistics in Social Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you enroll in the course, you get access to all of the courses in the Specialization, and you earn a certificate when you complete the work. Your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

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