Dear student,

When you decide to work with me, you can choose between different projects. These projects can be empirical (i.e., programming and running experiments to test hypotheses) or they can be computational (i.e., programming models and running simulations). Occasionally, a research project involves a literature review.

In the lab, we mostly use the following software:

For text processing, we use LaTeX. This program does not only come free of charge, it is also vastly superior to commercial alternatives such as Microsoft Word. Online introductions are available at http://web.mit.edu/olh/Latex/ess-latex.html and http://www.cs.cornell.edu/Info/Misc/LaTeX-Tutorial/LaTeX-Home.html. See also http://sachaepskamp.com/latex-course for a course geared toward psychology students.

For plotting, computational statistics, and programming, we use R. This program is free of charge, and it is ideally suited for all kinds of statistical analyses. It is also able to create graphs that are up to decent academic standards (unlike SPSS and Excel). For statisticians, R is the program of choice. At the University of Amsterdam, Han van der Maas teaches a course on R. For a discussion of why "R is ideal as a platform to support experimentation in mathematical statistics, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels".click here. An online introduction to R is here, and an introduction to some (3-D) R plotting routines is here. Angelos-Miltiadis Krypotos made a "tiny tutorial" on how to make graphs with R, assuming no prior knowledge. Dan Navarro has a free R book "Learning statistics with R: A tutorial for psychology students and other beginners", which you can find here.

For Bayesian statistics, we use WinBUGS. This program is free of charge, and it allows the user to easily fit a host of Bayesian models using MCMC algorithms. Although thecreators of WinBUGS repeatedly warn users not just to use WinBUGS because it is cool, this statement makes it clear that the program is, well, pretty cool. UPDATE: We now mostly work with JAGS and Stan. Michael Lee and I wrote a book on Bayesian modeling.

Whatever research project you decide to work on, you can be certain it is near and dear to me. Several promising ideas are just waiting for a motivated student to come along. I hope and anticipate that the research project you decide to take on will be fun and provide a useful learning experience. If you are interested in a more detailed explanation of which research projects I currently have available, just walk into my office or send me an Email, and we can set up a meeting.

Cheers,

E.J.

Words of Wisdom:- Tom Backer Johnsen: I have just started looking at R, and are getting more and more irritated at myself for not having done that before. However, one of the things I have not found in the documentation is some way of preparing output from R for convenient formatting into something like MS Word. Barry Rowlingson: Well whatever you do, don't start looking at LaTeX, because that will get you even more irritated at yourself for not having done it before. -- Tom Backer Johnsen and Barry Rowlingson, R-help (February 2006).