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Social Sciences Research Methods Programme | SSRMP



Foundations in Applied Statistics (FiAS)

This is an introductory course for students who have little or no prior training in statistics.

The module is divided between pre-recorded mini-lectures, in which you'll learn the relevant theory, and hands-on live practical sessions in which you will learn how to analyse real data using the statistical package, Stata. 

You will learn:

  • The key features of quantitative analysis, and how it differs from other types of empirical analysis
  • The basics of formal hypothesis testing
  • Basic concepts: what is a variable? what is the distribution of a variable? and how can we best represent a distribution graphically?
  • Features of statistical distributions: measures of central tendency and dispersion
  • The normal distribution
  • Why statistical testing works
  • Statistical methods used to test simple hypotheses
  • How to use Stata


Absolutely no prior knowledge is needed, but you must take the SSRMP Skill Check before booking, to ensure that this module is at the correct level for you.

Module structure

This module is very popular, so we repeat it several times (as 6 "series"). Each series covers exactly the same material, and is at the same level.

Each series runs over two sessions.

A pre-recorded series of mini-lectures will be available to students before the module starts, on the module's Moodle page. Please note - you will need to watch each lecture before the corresponding lab session.

The live two-hour lab sessions take place in the afternoon a week apart, in Michaelmas Term, and over one week in Lent Term.

Michaelmas Term

  • FiAS 1: 2-4pm on Mons 23 October (Session 1) and 30 October 2023 (Session 2)
  • FiAS 2: 4-6pm on Mons 23 October (Session 1) and 30 October 2023 (Session 2)
  • FiAS 3: 2-4pm on Thus 26 October (Session 1) and 2 November 2023 (Session 2)
  • FiAS 4: 4-6pm on Thus 26 October (Session 1) and 2 November 2023 (Session 2)

Lent Term

A pre-recorded series of mini-lectures (2 hours per session) will be available for all Lent Term students to watch, before the corresponding live afternoon lab sessions which take place on the times and dates, below:

  • FiAS 5: 2-4pm on Mon 22 Jan (Session 1) and Weds 24 Jan 2024 (Session 2)
  • FiAS 6: 4-6pm on Mon 22 Jan (Session 1) and Weds 24 Jan 2024 (Session 2)


The statistical package Stata.


An end-of-module assessment (open-book online test). Weekly online quizzes are available to help you prepare.

Reading List

There is no set text for this module; although recommended readings and all necessary information on the module's Moodle page.


Bookings for this module (and all other Basic Statistics Stream modules) should be requested via our dedicated BSS booking page. The page contains a booking request form which goes live each year at the start of Michaelmas Term.