Introduction to Bayesian Analysis using WinBUGS
Course dates to be confirmed over Summer 2013
Duration: 2 days (9.30am – 5.00pm)
Course Fee: £390 (£280 for those from educational institutions).
CCSR offers 5 free places to research staff and students within the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Manchester and the North West Doctoral Training Centre.
Course Leader: Nicky Best
Course Requirements: No previous experience of Bayesian methods or WinBUGS is necessary, although familiarity with standard statistical terminology and a good grasp of the basic principles of standard (maximum likelihood-based) linear and generalised linear regression models will be assumed. Participants will also be expected to be familiar with some common probability distributions (normal, binomial, Poisson). Some familiarity with the basic principles of multilevel modelling would also be useful, although not essential.
Use of Bayesian methods is becoming increasingly widespread within quantitative social and health sciences, particularly for analysing data with complex structure, such as hierarchical or multilevel data. However, very few applied researchers have any formal training in Bayesian methods. This two-day course aims to introduce quantitative researchers to the basic principles of Bayesian inference and simulation-based methods for estimating Bayesian models, and to highlight some of the potential benefits that a Bayesian approach can offer. There is a large practical component to this course with time for hands-on data analysis using examples drawn mainly from the social and health sciences.
Topics covered will include:
• Conjugate Bayesian inference for binary, count and continuous data
• Making inference from posterior distributions
• Choosing prior distributions
• Introduction to Monte Carlo simulation methods, MCMC methods and Gibbs sampling
• Simple Bayesian regression models
• Introduction to Bayesian hierarchical (multi-level) models
• Introduction to using the WinBUGS software
Statisticians, data analysts and quantitative researchers who are interested in finding out what Bayesian methods are all about, and how to implement some simple Bayesian models using the WinBUGS software. The course would also be of interest to researchers with experience of multi-level modelling using likelihood-based methods who wish to find out more about fitting and interpreting Bayesian versions of multi-level models. No previous experience of Bayesian methods or the WinBUGS software is required.