How to Understand Statistics in Research

Tuesday 4th June - Tuesday 25th June 2024 (4 half days - see below for exact times)

Book now Can't make these dates? Please register your interest here and we will be in touch when we have further dates for this course.

About the course

The aim of this online course is to provide participants with an introduction to applied statistics from a beginner level. The content will provide an overview of common statistical ideas and approaches, and by the end of the course you should be able to identify which statistical test is the most applicable for a given scenario, and interpret the results.  The course will be interactive and practical, with delivery of sessions based on lectures, multiple choice questions and 'pen and paper' exercises.

Feedback from previous attendees

"This is by far the best training of this kind that I have ever been on. The course leaders were all fantastic and covered a lot of very technical topics in detail at a pace that I could confidently keep up with. The leaders are so knowledgeable but the material [and] delivery was paced perfectly."

"The content was comprehensive and it was so appreciated to have the inclusion of foundational concepts and theory explained clearly. This has promoted my understanding of statistical methods and applications in practice and I feel it has prepared me to be more able to make sense of and accurately interpret and appraise the literature."

Course programme:

Day 1

Describing Data

  • Type of data
  • Summarising categorical data
  • Summarising continuous data
  • Displaying data

Summary Measures for Binary Data

  • Proportions, risks and rates
  • Comparing binary outcome measures (relative risks, risk differences and odds ratios)

Day 2

Populations, Samples and Estimation

  • Populations and samples
  • Normal distribution
  • Precision of sample estimates
  • Confidence intervals

Hypothesis Testing and P-Values

  • Hypothesis testing framework
  • P-Values, Type I Error, etc
  • Relationship between confidence intervals and P-Values
  • Interpretation of results

Day 3

Study Design

  • Surveys
  • Randomised controlled trials
  • Observational studies

Tests for comparing two or more groups (lecture with multiple choice questions)

  • Tests for continuous outcomes (e.g. independent samples t-test and Mann-Whitney U test)
  • Tests for binary outcomes (e.g. Chi-squared test and exact tests)

Day 4

Correlation and Regression

  • Association versus causality
  • Scatterplots and correlation
  • Simple linear regression

Other statistical methods seen in the literature

  • Multiple linear regression 
  • Further statistical models (e.g. logistic regression, survival analysis and Poisson regression)
  • Clustered/correlated outcomes


Who will benefit from the course?

The course is suitable for anyone who wants to develop or refresh their statistical knowledge. This could be individuals working in a variety of research fields or stages, clinicians who want to develop their understanding (e.g. for critiquing journal articles), or students who are going to require statistical knowledge to complete their studies.


Dr Richard Jacques, is the course lead

Dr Rebecca Simpson

Professor Stephen Walters

Dates and times

Tuesday 4th June, 9am - 1pm (BST)

Tuesday 11th June, 9am - 1pm (BST)

Tuesday 18th June, 9am - 1pm (BST)

Tuesday 25th June, 9am - 1pm (BST)

You must be able to attend all 4 sessions to successfully complete the course.


The fee for this course is £599 per person.

Current UOS Staff/Students

Current University of Sheffield staff and students are eligible to book at a reduced rate of £539 per person. An active email address is required to book at this reduced rate.   

Please see Booking and payment section for further details.

All fees are VAT exempt.

Booking and Payment

Payment can be made via credit / debit card or PayPal. Please visit the Online Store to make your booking.  

Non-University of Sheffield applicants - If your employer is paying your fees and they require an invoice, please ensure you have your purchase order details before making your booking. 

Current University of Sheffield staff and students – If you would prefer to be invoiced or to pay via an internal transfer, a purchase order will be required before you make your booking.  Please contact your department administrator or finance team for help with this.

Difficulties making your booking?

If you are having difficulties making your booking, please contact the Online Store directly at

Course delivery

This course will be delivered using the University's 'Blackboard' platform.

NHS staff - important note: We are aware of issues caused by NHS firewalls.  We recommend registering with an alternative/non-NHS email and using a non-NHS device when attending the course if possible. Thank you *


  • Reliable and stable internet connection.
  • A PC or laptop
  • Webcam and microphone (preferably a USB headset)
  • Mouse 
  • A quiet room where there will be no/minimal disruption.
  • Ability to access Google applications (e.g. Google Docs, Google Sites, Google Sheets).

For further information please do not hesitate to contact us:

Email at

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Information last updated: