CSASS Short Courses: Matlab Tools for Social Scientists

Matlab is a programming language used by thousands of researchers to design and conduct studies, collect behavioral data, run statistical analyses, and visualize results. It is an intuitive yet powerful language that can facilitate many aspects of the research process. This CSASS Short Course is intended to provide you with the basic tools to use Matlab effectively in your research. Some amount of practice is required to become comfortable with Matlab, but the effort is greatly rewarded.

You can find information about obtaining student and academic copies of Matlab at www.mathworks.com/products/matlab/


Workshop 1: Introduction to Matlab

(originally presented Oct 25, 2013)

The first workshop covers the basics of Matlab: setting up and starting Matlab, using the Command and Editor windows, defining variables, entering data, conducting standard statistical analyses, and basic plotting.


Workshop 2: Research Tools

(originally presented Nov 1, 2013)

The second workshop covers a variety of research tools in Matlab, including how to design a basic behavioral study, how to collect responses and reaction times from participants, and how to save and load data.


Workshop 3: Data Analysis and Plotting

(originally presented Nov 8, 2013)

The third workshop gets into more detail on data analysis and plotting using tools from Matlab’s statistics toolbox. Analyses covered include t-tests, ANOVA, correlation, and multiple regression. Plotting functions include scatter and line plots, bar graphs, and histograms.


Workshop 4: Visualizing Multivariate Data

(originally presented June 10, 2014)

As social scientists, we often encounter highly complex, multivariate data that is hard to characterize in standard 2D plots. This workshop covers techniques that help visualize multivariate, include 3D plots, surface plots, and dynamic displays. There is also a short introduction to PCA (principal components analysis).