SPR4104 – Introduction to statistic methods in language and literature

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course provides an introduction to statistical methods used in the humanities. You learn to work with the R programming language, which enables you to compute statistical tests, critically evaluate statistical procedures and explore large datasets. The course will also help you to understand basic research concepts such as statistical significance, independent and dependent variables, correlation, factor analysis and regression trees. Further, you will learn about some of the linguistic and literary research questions which these methods can be applied to, such as style and genre analysis, lexicography, and corpus analysis. You will be able to use basic forms of displaying data relevant for an MA thesis, such as boxplots, histograms, scatterplots and interaction plots.

Learning outcome

After completing this course you will have learned:

  • to search for regularities in large materials
  • to study relationships among different properties
  • to present graphically large quantities of data and tendencies in data
  • to investigate whether quantitative data are statistically significant

You will also get to know about some of the most common problems and questions for which these methods have been used in linguistics and literature, such as the computational analysis of style, genre definition, lexicography, and corpus linguistics.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


The course is taught throughout the semester with a 1-hour lecture and a 1-hour seminar per week for 14 weeks.
Attendance is obligatory; students must attend at least 11 out of 14 seminars. Additional absences must be justified by documentation given to the exam coordinator.

The course requirements include three short obligatory assignments. All assignments must be approved by the teacher before the student will be allowed to sit for the final exam. Read more about guidelines for compulsory activities.

Once the course requirements have been fulfilled, they remain valid for the current and the next two semesters that the course is taught.


The evaluation is based on a 4-hour written exam.

Exams held previously are available here.

Written examination

The written examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera. You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

Read more about written examinations using Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Examination support material

Students are allowed to use written support material (books, printouts, personal notes and similar) and a calculator during the exam.

Language of examination

The exam can be written in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Grades are published in StudentWeb at the latest three weeks after the exam

Explanations and appeals

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Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Reports from periodic evaluations (in Norwegian)

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Teaching language

Norwegian or English