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Advice on the doctoral thesis

Please read the preliminary information "Statistical Consulting" first.


  1. Registration in the secretariat
  2. Participation in the course for doctoral candidates
  3. Assignment of a specialist tutor
  4. Consultation

In principle, counseling should be utilised during the planning phase of a scientific thesis. This is possible as soon as the medical question of the planned investigation can be described. In this way, methodological deficiencies can be avoided which might hinder meaningful interpretations of statistical analyses of data which have already been collected.


Please register for consulting in person or by e-mail in the secretariat of the institute or via imsb-contact. Please submit the completed application form (see below).
Note: Please also note the privacy policy.
Our information obligations according to Art. 13 DS-GVO can be found here.

Course for PhD students

Once a month, the Institute of Medical Statistics and Bioinformatics (IMSB) offers a course for postgraduate students in which basic knowledge about the statistical planning and data analysis of your doctoral thesis is imparted. Participation in this course is a prerequisite for further consultation. When registering at the secretariat, you will be notified of the next possible date for the course as well as the course location. As soon as you have attended the course, you will be assigned a personal tutor at IMSB.
In the event that too few registrations have been received, we reserve the right to cancel individual courses at short notice.

Course dates 2021

  • Wednesday, 13.01.2021, 14:30-16:00
  • Wednesday, 17.02.2021, 14:30-16:00
  • Wednesday, 10.03.2021, 14:30-16:00
  • Wednesday, 07.04.2021, 14:30-16:00
  • Wednesday, 05.05.2021, 14:30-16:00
  • Wednesday, 02.06.2021, 14:30-16:00
  • Wednesday, 07.07.2021, 14:30-16:00
  • Wednesday, 04.08.2021, 14:30-16:00
  • Wednesday, 08.09.2021, 14:30-16:00
  • Wednesday, 06.10.2021, 14:30-16:00
  • Wednesday, 03.11.2021, 14:30-16:00
  • Wednesday, 01.12.2021, 14:30-16:00

Course material

Please first save the xls file locally, then you can open it with for example Microsoft® Excel, LibreOffice or OpenOffice Calc.
We are grateful for your constructive feedback to imsb-kontakt.

Procedure and scope of consulting

Following the course participation, a member of IMSB staff will provide further statistical advice as a specialist tutor. In this second phase, counseling takes place in individual counseling sessions agreed with the supervisor of your doctoral thesis, according to the progress of the work and based on an agreed timetable. The supervisor of your doctoral thesis is requested to attend the first appointment. A maximum of three consultation appointments are provided. The contents can look like this:

  • Discussion of the planned question, the created database and the description of the analysis sample
  • Support for the selection of suitable data analysis methods and presentation of results
  • Discussion of results and assistance in interpretation

This service offer includes assistance in the sense of a specialist consulting and supervision of implementation. The necessary work (e.g. data entry, use of standard statistical software for data analysis, etc.) must be provided by the doctoral students themselves.

For an effective counseling session, the learning objectives of the course QB1: Cross Section Epidemiology, Medical Biometry and Medical Informatics and Practical Exercises QB1 are required. Lack of knowledge can be acquired or refreshed by means of the course materials for the course QB1 (details under courses) or the block-course Basics of Medical Statistics.

Data analysis

Doctoral students analyse their data independently, for example using the IBM SPSS Statistics® software. Please note the recommendations on structure and data collection.

Courses on SPSS Statistics® are regularly offered by the IMSB (see Courses) and the Cologne Regional Computing Center (RRZK). Under a state license agreement, University of Cologne rental licenses (ie, time-limited rights of use) of the  software for research and teaching through the Regional Computing Center are available to facilities and their members (students, doctoral students and staff), see SPSS Campus License.

In the so-called "Glaskasten" (in the foyer on the left, MTI lecture hall building 44b) you will find some labeled computers with SPSS for "private study" outside the course hours. On these computers, you can log in with your RRZK uni- or s-mail account.


The responsibility for the data (formal or content correctness of the data, data security, data protection) remains with the doctoral candidate or medical supervisor. In particular, we refer to the "Regulations of the University of Cologne for securing good scientific practice and dealing with scientific misconduct", the university-wide "Research Code of Conduct" and the panels on scientific integrity of the University of Cologne. In addition, the "Guidelines for Securing Good Scientific Practice" of the German Research Foundation (DFG) as well as the "Guideline for the Handling of Research Data" at the University of Cologne are expressly referred to.
Further useful links can be found on our page with information on the planning, implementation, evaluation and publication of studies. Please inform yourself about the relevant documents.

If the Institute for Medical Statistics and Bioinformatics or an employee is mentioned in a doctoral thesis, the thesis must be submitted to the IMSB prior to submission.

If services are provided in the context of consulting that lead to scientific publications, it is scientifically correct, collegial behavior to credit those IMSB staff who were involved in consulting, according to their share of the work, in the list of authors or in the acknowledgment. In this case, the work must be submitted to the IMSB staff member prior to submission for publication.