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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Mathematical Sciences

MATH43515: Multilevel Modelling

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2021/22


  • For students on an MA Research Methods programme: SGIA49915 Quantitative Research Methods, or completion of the DRMC R School, or equivalent


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide alternative advanced training in quantitative methods which will enable students to advance from more traditional concepts of independent data
  • To introduce the notion that social processes rarely exist in isolation, similar to underlying health factors.
  • To demonstrate that there are natural clustering of events, which affect how society functions (from households and moving through to governance).
  • To introduce students to advanced techniques for analysing correlated data resulting from clustering (such as in household, schools, hospital administrative authority) and repeated data on the same entity, over time.


  • Indicative content will include:
  • Introduction to hierarchical data structures
  • Revisiting general linear models
  • Revisiting generalised linear models
  • Multivariate general linear model
  • Multivariate generalised linear model
  • Two-stage techniques
  • Linear mixed effects models
  • Generalised linear mixed effects models
  • Incomplete data techniques
  • Nonlinear models

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of this module, students should be able to:
  • Critically explore the concepts of repeated measures
  • Demonstrate advanced understanding of structure and methods for longitudinal data analysis
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of incomplete data techniques
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should be able to:
  • Apply multivariate generalised linear models to repeated measures, repeated cross-sectional data and longitudinal data
  • Apply two-stage analytical methods to repeated measures, repeated cross-sectional data and longitudinal data
  • Apply linear and generalised linear mixed effects models to repeated measures, repeated cross-sectional data and longitudinal data
  • Perform sensitivity analysis for incomplete data
Key Skills:
  • Students will also develop some important key skills, suitable for underpinning study at this and subsequent levels, such as:
  • an ability to critically evaluate hierarchical data structures and communicate conclusions to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • an ability to demonstrate a high degree of self-direction in analysing and interpreting correlated data
  • an ability to work autonomously in planning and implementing multilevel models, including knowledge of how to use software

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be taught using a combination of lectures, practical workshops and tutorials. These modes of teaching will ensure that statistical methods are not taught in abstractions and instead the learning and teaching approach for this module will consider students as apprentices in quantitative research methods. As such students will be afforded the opportunity to test new concepts and to receive feedback. Tutorials will be led by tutors with experience in the student’s primary discipline, where ever is possible.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 1 hour 10
Practicals 9 Weekly 2 hours 18
Group Tutorials 2 Twice per term 1 hour 2
Preparation and Reading 120
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written project based on data provided to students and analysed and interpreted by themselves 3000 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

There will be a short formative assignment in which students will carry out a series of operations and interpret the results of the operations. Although not all procedures will be covered in this work, and different data will be used, the formative assignment follows a similar format to the summative assignment. It is therefore aimed to support students to become familiar with requirements and expectations of their summative work. Students will receive peer-feedback, as well as generic feedback on the formative.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University