Crash Course in Statistics

Important: the course will take place in person at Irchel campus.

About this course

An annual course for students of the ZNZ to get hands-on acquaintance with statistics and its application to research. The goal of this course is to establish basic concepts required for good statistical practice and to give insights into the statistical programming environment R using RStudio and reporting tools such as Rmarkdown. Using real world examples we will show possibilities, limitations, and caveats of using statistics in neurosciences and research in general. This course gives 2 ECTS credit points upon successful completion of the daily exercises.

Dates + Times

  • August 23 – 27, 2021, 09:00 – 16:00, Y13 M-12

Format and platform

The course will be in person. Please note that UZH Corona Regulations apply (i.e. masks are mandatory).

Registration + Administration

Heidi Gauss,, Tel. 044 635 33 82

Aims of the course

Participants will come to…

  • have a basic knowledge of statistics
  • gain familiarity with R and Rstudio, as well as R packages from CRAN
  • develop a sense for good data visualization
  • use R to produce customized plots
  • scrutinize statistical results in publications
  • use R to perform – and interpret! – commonly used statistical hypothesis tests
  • fit linear models/ANOVAs to suitable data, check model assumptions and interpret the respective R output

The way I teach

  • Each day of the course will cover a certain topic of statistics and its application in research.
  • Daily structure:
    • The day will start with a two hour theoretical session, followed by a case study of a neuroscience publication, where we see how the concepts are (ab)used in science.
    • In the afternoon the concepts are motivated using R, where the participants will work among themselves. –
  • Install R & RStudio – there are many guides on the internet on how to do it.
  • A script containing documentation, comments and exercises, as well as the slides of the theoretical parts in the mornings, will be made available at the beginning of the course.
  • The lecturer will be coaching the participants on the tasks they will solve such that everyone can work with their own speed.

Course material

All course material will be available online during the course. Please make sure you have a working internet connection and rights to install software on your device.


TimeMonday TuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
09:15-11:00Why?Random variablesVisualisationTestsCaveats
11:15-12:00Case 1Case 2Case 3Case 4Case 5
13:00-16:00R?Handling dataPlottingModellingWhat next?


The following list of books is not required for this course, but I strongly recommend their lecture anyway.


For questions regarding the topic and teaching of the course contact Daniel Stekhoven, Tel. 044 632 21 61.

Questions regarding registration and administration of the course contact Heidi Gauss, Tel. 044 635 33 82.