Multivariate Methods for Social Researchers

Lecturer: Eugène Horber

Modality: In presence

Week 1: 12 - 16 August 2024


Workshop Contents and Objectives

The focus of this workshop is to introduce tools dealing with many variables (multivariate analysis): building models with several variables and reducing complexity (data reduction). The focus is methodological, conceptual and practical, oriented towards the application of these tools to typical analysis problems in social research. Statistical tools are only useful and meaningful when they serve a research project, based on a well-defined theoretical framework (research question, research design, hypotheses) and good quality data.

The objectives of this workshop are:

  • Lie sound foundations of knowledge and skills with multivariate statistical tools applied to the Social Sciences for participants who had an introductory course in statistics and need to go beyond basics.
  • Acquire practical skills with data and statistical software, as well as awareness of both the potential and shortcomings and limitations (assumptions, pitfalls) of commonly used statistical tools.
  • Stress the importance of embedding the use of statistical tools in a complete research process, from the initial research question, to data collection and analytics, as well as reporting the

At the end of the workshop, active participants should be able to

  • Apply the various statistical tools to their own research projects, within a well designed and defined, theoretically grounded, as well as realistic (i.e. applicable) framework.
  • Understand and critically assess publications in their scientific field reporting results based on statistical techniques.



Workshop design

Lectures and exercises with a focus on group projects. At least 50% of teaching time will be allotted to practical work.

The various tools will be presented and discussed using numerous examples. Participants will then apply these tools in the context of their group projects (Software used: IBM SPSS Statistics).


Detailed lecture plan (dayily schedule)

Day 1.
Introduction to multivariate analysis; quick review of univariate and bivariate statistics, statistical inference and concepts of empirical research in the social sciences focused on a multivariate view of basic tools.

Day 2.
Multiple linear regression; regression assumptions and diagnosis; analysis of residuals; building models

Day 3.
Regression with categorical variables, logistic regression and related techniques

Day 4.
Unidimensional and multidimensional scaling: Likert, Guttman scales, data reduction (Principal component analytics, factor analysis)

Day 5.
Introduction to tree models and classification. Presentation of participants’ projects.


Class materials

During the workshop a specific website will provide all materials, including slides, exercises and project related materials.



Background in basic statistics and statistical software. You should able to perform basic statistical analyses and data transformations (recoding, variable combination) using statistical software (SPSS).  If this is not the case or you are unsure, consider the 3-day preliminary workshop Statistics with SPSS for Social Scientists as mandatory for you.


Recommended readings or preliminary material

Before attending the workshop, you should read some introductory texts to social research and basic statistical concepts. Some References and Advice here