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The mission of The Methodology Center is to advance public health by improving experimental design and data analysis in the social, behavioral, and health sciences. 

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Center Calendar
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Susan Murphy, 2013 MacArthur Fellow

Susan Murphy 2013 MacArthur Fellow


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Recent News

October 9, 2014

Donna CoffmanCongratulations to Methodology Center Investigator Donna Coffman, who received a K01 Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health Big Data to Knowledge initiative! The award will fund 100% of Donna’s training and independent research for the next three years. Donna’s work will focus on the analysis of big data to promote healthy behavior related to physical activity, diet, stress management, and substance use.
 
K awards include a training component, and Donna will study methods from computer science and informatics in order to manage and analyze big data. She will study statistical methods for the integration and analysis of big data, including genomics data, ecological momentary assessments, and data from wearable devices.

 

September 26, 2014

Mark Stemmler

Mark Stemmler, professor of psychological assessment at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, has written a new book, Person centered methods: Configural frequency analysis (CFA) and other methods for the analysis of contingency tables. 

 

Mark is a long-time friend of The Methodology Center, and last month, he visited us from Germany to teach one of our one-credit graduate courses. While he was here, Mark sat down with the Methodology Center’s science writer, Aaron Wagner, to briefly chat about Mark’s new book and the value of CFA.

 

September 25, 2014
classroom with kids and teacherHead Start is the largest federally funded preschool program for disadvantaged children. Some people have questioned its worth because research has shown relatively small impacts on cognitive and social skills. In a forthcoming article in Child Development, Methodology Center Affiliate Brittany Rhoades Cooper and Methodology Center Scientific Director Stephanie Lanza perform latent class analysis (LCA) on the Head Start Impact Study dataset to identify subgroups of children who have similar home environments and caregivers.

 

The authors then examine cognitive, behavioral, and relationship skills measured two years later to determine whether the effects of Head Start vary across these subgroups. Their approach could have broad application by researchers interested in using latent class analysis to understand differential effects of an intervention by simultaneously considering multiple potential moderators. 

 

September 24, 2014

Rachel SmithWhen diagnosing genetic disorders like Alpha-1, physicians use genetic tests. Communication about the results of those tests may influence the overall well-being of the person who has been diagnosed, his or her spouse, and the couple. Methodology Center Investigator Rachel Smith and a team of Penn State researchers including Methodology Center Principal Investigator Donna Coffman are investigating this type of spousal communication with the goal of designing targeted messages to support married adults managing genetic test results, associated genetic-based illness, and genetic stigma. The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is funding this research. The proposed work will use methods developed at The Methodology Center to design theory-driven, audience-targeted messages and to enrich our knowledge base about the little-understood social implications of genetic tests.


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