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Social & Behavioural Data Science Centre (SoBe DSC)

The SoBe DSC is the social and behavioural sciences hub of the University of Amsterdam's Data Science Centre.

Mission

The centre includes the four domains of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences of the University of Amsterdam: Social Sciences, Psychology, Child Development and Education, and Communication Science.

The SoBe DSC covers all activities at the intersection of

  • Computer science
  • Mathematics and statistics
  • At least one of the substantive disciplines of the social and behavioural sciences

The mission of the SoBe DSC is to have a substantial impact, both scientifically and societally, in fostering innovative applications of data science techniques.

The centre further aims to conduct collaborative research, to provide consultancy and support, to educate students and colleagues, to develop tools, software, and services, and to promote valorisation.

Coordination Team

The centre is managed by its director, prof. dr. Denny Borsboom, and four coordinators from each of the faculty’s domains: dr. Sophie Boerman (Communication Science), dr. Julia Haaf (Psychology), dr. Suzanne Jak (Child Development and Education), and dr. Hanno Kruse (Social Sciences).

Director

Prof. dr. D. (Denny) Borsboom

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Programme group Psychological Methods

Prof. dr. Denny Borsboom (PhD, University of Amsterdam, 2003) is Director of the SoBeDSC.

His research combines conceptual analysis, often based on insights taken from the philosophy of science, with the development of statistical techniques and practical methodologies that are designed to improve and expand the methodological framework in psychology. For example, in the past decade, Borsboom has focused on the development of techniques represent psychometric constructs as networks of interacting variables, which has led to the development of network psychometrics.

His current research program is devoted to the development of techniques and methodologies that can aid psychologists in theory development.

Communication Science

Dr. S.C. (Sophie) Boerman

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

CW : Persuasive Communication

Dr. Sophie C. Boerman (PhD, University of Amsterdam, 2014) represents Communication Science.

She is assistant professor of Persuasive Communication at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) at the University van Amsterdam. Her research addresses empowerment and resilience in the context of persuasive and/or data-driven communication, with a focus on transparency, literacy and persuasion knowledge, and privacy.

In her research, she combines diverse methods and data, such as lab and online experiments, scenario-based experiments, cross-sectional and panel surveys, scale development, eye tracking, regression and mediation analysis, content analysis, cluster analysis, and meta-analysis.

Psychology

J.M. (Julia) Haaf PhD

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Programme group Psychological Methods

Dr. Julia Haaf (PhD, University of Missouri, 2018) represents Psychology.

She is an assistant professor in the Psychological Methods group, Department of Psychology at the UvA. Her research focuses on the development of Bayesian hierarchical modeling approaches to assess individual differences in cognitive phenomena. Examples of such phenomena are interference effects, recognition memory, and subliminal priming.

Key to understanding individual differences in cognitive tasks is to disentangle stable, qualitative individual differences from sample noise. A central aim of Julia’s work is to develop statistical modeling solutions that are tailored to capture key theoretical constraints.

As an open science enthusiast Julia tries to make her work as accessible as possible to other researchers and the public.

Child Development and Education

Dr. S. (Suzanne) Jak

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Programme group: Methods and statistics

Dr. Suzanne Jak (PhD, University of Amsterdam, 2013) represents the department of Child Development and Education.

She is assistant professor in the Methods and Statistics group of the Research Institute of Child Development and Education. Her research focuses on structural equation modelling in general, and specifically in combination with measurement invariance, multilevel data, or meta-analysis.

The goal of Suzanne’s research is to make these technique better known and more user friendly for researchers who’s research might benefit from using these techniques, and to develop new methods where needed.

She is currently working on developing meta-analytical structural equation models that optimally use all available relevant information, such as dependent effect sizes, mean structures, and raw data. 

Social Sciences

Dr. H. (Hanno) Kruse

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Programme group: Institutions, Inequalities and Life courses

Dr. Hanno Kruse (PhD, University of Mannheim, 2017) represents the Social Sciences.

He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. His research examines how social structure operates behind the backs of those involved, with a focus on the origins and effects of segregation in schools, neighbourhoods, and social networks.

In his work, he often relies on a combination of different quantitative data (e.g., surveys, administrative data, or geo-coded spatial information), applying methods such as cross-sectional and longitudinal network analysis, multilevel and panel analysis, agent-based modelling, or methods of causal inference.

In the past, he has been involved in several projects collecting large-scale panel data on ethnic minority and majority youth in European secondary schools.

Post doctoral researchers

Supported by the UvA DSC, several postdoctoral researchers from each department work on data science research in the the SoBe DSC.