Brian French By Brandon Chapman, WSU College of Education

WSU’s Learning and Performance Research Center will host its fifth annual Methods Workshop Thursday-Friday, May 11-12, on the Pullman campus, with streaming to Vancouver and Spokane.

This year’s presenter is Roy Levy, associate professor of measurement and statistical analysis at Arizona State University’s T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics.

Responding to needs

The Learning and Performance Research Center (LPRC) began the workshops in 2013, based on its perceived need to provide state-of-the art training in research methods and analysis to people inside – and outside – social and behavioral sciences.

LPRC director Brian French said the goal of the workshops is to provide students and faculty the latest information on advanced methodological and analytic approaches, and hands-on software training they can then use to help answer critical questions in their respective areas of study.

Overcoming prohibitive costs

“It was cost-prohibitive to send a lot of students and faculty to such trainings offered at other major universities or conferences, so we started to reach out to top scholars I had worked with or knew from their work, and began inviting them to WSU to provide training on our campus,” French said. “So far it has been extremely successful. The participants are learning approaches used in work highlighted by top journals in the field, as well as learn components of successful externally-funded projects.”

Levy is a recognized expert in something called Bayesian statistical modeling. The methods used in every workshop are ones suggested each year by the participants themselves.

“We want to meet their needs, in order to allow them to grow in their areas of expertise and push the boundaries of their field in terms of methodological sophistication,” French said.

This year’s two-day workshop is sponsored by the LPRC, the College of Education, CAHNRS’ Department of Human Development and the College of Arts and Science’s Department of Psychology.