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Inaugural lecture Marijtje van Duijn: Statistics in the social sciences

20 December 2022

How can you use statistics as a bridge between scientific theories and research data? This question fascinates Marijtje van Duijn immensely. She will elaborate on this topic during her inaugural lecture in the Academy Building on January 13.

Marijtje van Duijn
Marijtje van Duijn

Two worlds

As a statistician within the sociology department, Marijtje van Duijn forms the link between research questions and data. Van Duijn: "In research, the central question and the statistical models must obviously fit well together, but it is also important to look at the extent to which the research question is or can be answered with the data." This link between theory and empirical data is the focus of van Duijn's inaugural lecture on January 13: 'Statistics in the social sciences: The best of two worlds'.

Social network analysis

Van Duijn's specialisation is social network analysis, a method that allows analysing relationships between people. "In sociology, a lot of research is done on social networks. The structure of these networks requires a special approach, as normal regression analysis is not possible. As a group, we have been working very hard over the past 20 years to develop methods that do justice to the complexity of these networks."


Statistical models for social network analysis are known for not being easy to run and interpret, but that is precisely what attracts van Duijn. "These analyses can indeed be quite complicated. And the questions are also complex. Working with these models is not straightforward, but a challenging puzzle. I find it exciting to work with researchers and try to answer their questions as well as possible."

Aletta Jacobs fund

Van Duijn's appointment as professor took place within the framework of the Aletta Jacobs fund. This fund aims to increase gender equality at professor level at the RUG. Van Duijn sees the establishment of her chair as a nice endorsement of her group's work. Together with her colleagues, she hopes to continue and expand this work in the coming years. She will also continue to be involved in teaching, supervising PhD students, statistical consultation, and ethical review of research.

Inaugural lecture

More information about Marijtje van Duijn's inaugural lecture can be found on this page. If you wish to attend the inaugural lecture, you can register via this page until January 6. The inaugural lecture can also be viewed via a livestream.

Last modified:20 December 2022 10.07 a.m.
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