PhD position Psychometrics and Statistics
University of Groningen, Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences

PhD position Psychometrics and Statistics

Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 30,000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.


Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences
The Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences of the UG excels in teaching and research in the fields of behaviour, thinking, learning and how people live together. We want to continue developing our well-founded theoretical and methodological knowledge domains: psychology, sociology, pedagogy, educational sciences and teaching methodology.


The Faculty aims for a leading position in studying and solving social issues and problems people encounter in everyday life. Our ambition is to develop and assess scientifically substantiated interventions, in consultation with social parties. We aim to develop the Faculty infrastructure for empirical research to a leading global level.


The Department
The PhD position will be in the department of Psychometrics and Statistics. Dr D. van Ravenzwaaij and Dr R. Hoekstra will be the daily supervisors of the project, and Prof H.A.L. Kiers will be the formal promotor. For more information about the research in the department, see:


Job description
The research project will be in the field of Methodology and Statistics. It is concerned with reproducibility of research findings. It is motivated by the fact that large parts of the empirical literature in the social sciences seem untrustworthy (e.g., Open Science Collaboration, 2015). A major culprit in this reproducibility crisis is the over-reliance on inappropriate statistical inference tools (e.g., Hoekstra, Finch, Kiers & Johnson, 2006; van Ravenzwaaij & Ioannidis, 2017). Conventional statistical inference often makes use of a p-value as a vessel to quantify evidence against the null hypothesis. Unfortunately, just using a p-value to decide whether or not there is an effect will easily lead to overly strong conclusions, thus giving rise to a literature riddled with spurious research findings. However, studies differ in likelihood of having found a spurious result.


This project aims to provide a targeted approach for diagnosing original study results in need of replication. Firstly, it will be studied how success of replication is defined in practice. Secondly, traditional and state-of-the-art methods (and, possibly, extensions thereof) for predicting and quantifying replication success will be compared through Bayesian methods. The practical usefulness of such methods is that their results can be used to assess whether it is worth the effort to do a replication study. Next, by using such tools to re-evaluate existing statistical evidence in both the fields of psychology and the educational sciences, we can identify those studies for which reported statistical evidence is inconclusive or weak, and for which claims of the existence of an effect might have been premature. Simultaneously, the reanalysis can indicate which study results are supported by compelling evidence, thus lowering the need for those to be replicated. The PhD student will work on developing and evaluating these methods, especially in the context of combining the statistical results with theoretical reasons for attempting to replicate.


We are looking for a PhD candidate:
• with a master’s degree in one of the Social Sciences or Applied Statistics with a strong academic record; a master’s degree in other domains will also be considered. In all cases, there must be evidence of a strong skills basis in and affinity with statistical procedures for data analysis
• who has excellent English and academic writing skills
• who is a team player with excellent communication and project management skills
• who has (preferably) proficiency with the statistical programme R.


Conditions of employment
The University of Groningen offers a salary of € 2,325,-- (salary scale PhD candidates Dutch Universities) gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 2,972,-- gross per month in the final year, based on a full-time position, excluding a 8% holiday allowance and a 8.3% end of the year bonus. The position requires residence in Groningen and must result in a PhD thesis within the 4-year contract period. The successful candidate will be offered a temporary position of four years with an evaluation moment at the end of the first year. The prolongation of the contract after this first year is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected.


A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Behavioural and Social Sciences.


In addition for the PhD position Psychometrics and Statistics, part of the contract entails teaching in the Psychology or Educational Science programmes.

The preferred starting date is between 1 March and 1 May 2019, but later starts are possible as well.


The interviews are planned in February 2019.


You may apply for this position until January 31 23.59h / before 1 February 2019 by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Applications must include:
• a letter of motivation
• a curriculum vitae, including a list of publications (if any)
• transcript of master and bachelor degrees
• the contact information of two academic referees.


Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

Dr D. van Ravenzwaaij,
Dr R. Hoekstra,
Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Psychoneuroxy


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