GESIS Training Courses

Scientific Coordination

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Loretta Langendörfer M.A.
Tel: +49 221 47694-143

Mathematics for Research: a Refresher Course with R

Prof. Dr. Michael Greenacre, Prof. Dr. Oleg Nenadic

Date: 20.11 - 22.11.2017 ics-file

Location: Cologne

About the lecturer - Prof. Dr. Michael Greenacre

About the lecturer - Prof. Dr. Oleg Nenadic

Course description

The workshop “Mathematics for Research: a Refresher Course with R” is designed to repeat mathematical knowledge which is required for the understanding and the application of recent developments in statistical data reduction techniques. The course covers the fundamentals of Mathematics (functions, linear algebra, calculus and optimization), focusing on the understanding of the concepts. Instead of pursuing a formal approach this workshop will help the participants to familiarize themselves with what we consider as essential and useful mathematical knowledge. Thus, one aim of this workshop is to remove the commonly experienced uncertainty when researchers are dealing with mathematical concepts and expositions in their research.
An important part of this workshop is the active use of the open-source statistical programming language R. Since its introduction in the nineties, R has become a de-facto standard for statistical computing. As such, this workshop combines communicating mathematical concepts with an introduction and the active application of R, both of which are taught in an innovative parallel format.
The course sessions basically comprise two continuously alternating parts: the “theoretical part” covers the mathematical explanations while the “applied part” re-elaborates and reinforces the theoretical part by actively using R. In this way, the workshop lays the foundations for advanced empirical research methodology by covering the theoretical background as well as providing an insight into R.

Target group

The course is conceptualized to support researchers (including PhD students) who want to improve their mathematical background knowledge as a prerequisite for advanced empirical research. It is commonly found that mathematical prerequisites are an obstacle for understanding advanced statistical methods. In many cases, this may be due to the fact that the last Mathematics course has been taken at least some time ago. Apart from lacking mathematical fundamentals, this also creates an uncertainty, which in some cases may prevent a researcher from considering further advanced statistical approaches.

Learning objectives

Within the course the focus lies on the understanding of the fundamentals of Mathematics. The instructors aim is to do so without relying too much on strict formalized notation. Instead, the statistical software R will be used for illustrating the concepts. As a side-benefit, this workshop will provide insight into the R environment, which can afterwards directly be implemented into the application of advanced statistical methods. The workshop focuses on Mathematics and R, and thus statistical topics are not specifically covered in detail, although several examples of statistical methods and concepts are given as examples of the presented mathematical theory.


The only prerequisite for the workshop is the motivation to learn (or to repeat) the fundamentals of Mathematics. Due to the compact nature of this course, the participants are required to have some basic knowledge about R (c.f. the contents covered in
Laptop computers with all required software packages will be provided for all participants.


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