PhD position Psychometrics and Statistics (1,0 fte)


Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences


University of Groningen

Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative center of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 30,000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences
The Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences is a center of knowledge focusing on individuals and society. The faculty studies issues relating to human behavior, the relationships between people, and society as a whole. This includes the study of how people function under normal circumstances, but also of the problems encountered by individuals or groups, and how these can be resolved or prevented.

The Department
The PhD position will be in the department of Psychometrics and Statistics. Dr D. van Ravenzwaaij and Dr R. Hoekstra will be the daily supervisors of the project, and Prof. H.A.L. Kiers will be the formal promotor. For more information about the research in the department, see:

Job description

The research project will be in the field of Methodology and Statistics. It is concerned with reproducibility of research findings. It is motivated by the fact that large parts of the empirical literature in the social sciences seem untrustworthy (e.g., Open Science Collaboration, 2015). A major culprit in this reproducibility crisis is the over-reliance on inappropriate statistical inference tools (e.g., Hoekstra, Finch, Kiers & Johnson, 2006; van Ravenzwaaij & Ioannidis, 2017). Conventional statistical inference often makes use of a p-value as a vessel to quantify evidence against the null hypothesis. Unfortunately, this p-value is biased against the null hypothesis in three important ways, thus giving rise to a literature riddled with spurious research findings. However, studies differ in likelihood of having found a spurious result.

This project aims to provide a targeted approach for diagnosing original study results in need of replication. By re-evaluating existing statistical evidence in both the fields of psychology and pedagogy with a Bayesian hypothesis test, we can identify those studies for which reported statistical evidence is inconclusive or weak, and for which claims of the existence of an effect might have been premature. Simultaneously, the reanalysis can indicate which study results are supported by compelling evidence, thus lowering the need for those to be replicated. The PhD-student will work on developing and evaluating this methodology, especially in the context of combining the statistical results with theoretical reasons for attempting to replicate.


We are looking for a PhD candidate:
• with a Master’s degree in one of the Social Sciences with a strong academic record. A Master’s degree in Medicine will also be considered. In both cases, proven affinity to statistical methods is essential
• who has excellent English and academic writing skills
• who is a team player with excellent communication and project management skills
• who has (preferably) proficiency with statistical program R.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

The University of Groningen offers a salary of € 2,222 (salary scale PhD candidates Dutch Universities) gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 2,840 gross per month in the final year, based on a full time position, excluding a 8% holiday allowance and a 8.3% end of the year bonus. The position requires residence in Groningen and must result in a PhD thesis within the 4-year contract period. The successful candidate will be offered a temporary position of four years with an evaluation moment at the end of the first year. The prolongation of the contract after this first year is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected.
A PhD training program is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
In addition for the PhD position Psychometrics and Statistics also available on the website, part of the contract entails implementing teaching tasks in the Sociology Bachelor or Master program.

The preferred starting date is between 1 October and 1 November 2017.

The interviews are planned in week 35 (between 28 August - 1 September 2017).

You may apply for this position until 14 August / before 15 August 2017 Dutch local time by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Applications must include:
• a letter of motivation
• a curriculum vitae, including a list of publications (if any)
• transcript of master and bachelor degrees
• the contact information of two academic referees.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Dr D. van Ravenzwaaij

Dr R. Hoekstra

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 217277

Digital application form