GESIS Training Courses

Scientific Coordination

Alisa Remizova

Administrative Coordination

Janina Götsche

Using Simulation Studies to Evaluate Statistical Methods

Online via Zoom
General Topics:
Course Level:
Software used:
Students: 220 €
Academics: 330 €
Commercial: 660 €
Additional links
Lecturer(s): Tim Morris, Matteo Quartagno

About the lecturer - Tim Morris

About the lecturer - Matteo Quartagno

Course description

Simulation studies are computer experiments that generate data by pseudo-random sampling. The aim is typically to understand the statistical properties of methods and to compare different methods. Simulation studies are particularly useful when analytic results are not available. As such, simulation studies are a key tool for both methodological and applied quantitative researchers. To produce a meaningful simulation study, careful thought is required. This two-day workshop outlines the rationale for using simulation studies and offers guidance for design, execution, analysis, reporting, and presentation. The course will be practically focused, so concepts will be described in terms of examples and tested out, and there will be opportunities for critical discussion of published simulation studies or those being planned by participants. The course is 'bilingual', with computer code to support R and Stata users, with one lecturer expert in each.
Organizational structure of the course
Each morning and afternoon will involve a lecture followed by a practical session.
All lectures will be delivered 'live' and are interactive: we welcome participants asking questions or discussing examples they have seen, and we will stop for polls and discussions.
Practical sessions will be a mix of discussion-based and computer-based sessions. One of the main practical tasks will be for participants to design, code, execute, analyze, and report back on a simple simulation study that the lecturers will introduce. We will ask participants to work together in small groups and to critique each other's ideas. The lecturers will be on hand to facilitate discussions, discuss participants' general questions, and for individual consultation during these sessions. Participants are invited to send examples of simulation studies that are published or that they are working on, to be discussed during the lectures.

Target group

Participants will find the course useful if:
  • They are methodological or applied quantitative researchers who need to evaluate the statistical properties of one or more methods
  • They are PhD students using simulation studies
  • They are readers of methodology articles, which evaluate methods by simulation

  • Learning objectives

    By the end of the course, participants will:
  • Understand the rationale for simulation studies and their limitations
  • Appreciate the importance of careful planning of simulation studies
  • Have the knowledge to write and debug simple simulation studies in R or Stata
  • Know how to analyze simulation studies
  • Be able to present and critique methods and results of simulation studies to prepare for publication

  • Prerequisites

    Training in quantitative science.
    Familiarity with R and/or Stata to the level of being able to:
  • run regression commands and access results.
  • use loops.
  • write a simple program (Stata) or function (R).
  • produce simple graphics.
    Software requirements
    Participants using their own laptops will need either Stata (version 15 or later) or R (version 4.3.0 or later) installed. If you need Stata, please let us know the latest two weeks in advance of the course start so that we can take care of it.


    Recommended readings