Workshop on quasi-experimental methods with Cook and Shadish

A workshop on better quasi-experimental design and analysis will take place at Northwestern University from Monday, August 3rd to Friday, August 14th. The workshop is for faculty from all disciplines who have an interest in causal research in education, though some advanced graduate students working with quasi-experimental data are also welcome. This two-week workshop will expose attendees to the best current quasi-experimental practice for education and will help them analyze the data that the better designs produce. The format will be some lectures with active involvement from attendees. These lectures will describe better practice with the rationale based on both statistical theory and the results of studies directly comparing non-experimental and experimental causal results. The rest of the workshop will be spent hands on in the analysis of data from the designs covered in the lectures.

The instructors will be Thomas Cook of Northwestern University, Will Shadish of the University of California at Merced, Peter Steiner from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, Coady Wing from Indiana University at Bloomington, and Vivian Wong from the University of Virginia. Taken together they have had considerable experience in the design and analysis of randomized experiments, regression discontinuity designs, interrupted time series, and many other forms of non-experimental practice. All have backgrounds in education research, with three teaching graduate students and postdocs in education. Together they know the literature, not just in education, but also in statistics, psychology, economics and public policy.

The hands-on instructional component having to do with analysis will use two programs, R and STATA. Attendees should have a copy of one or both of these on their laptop they bring to the training. There may be some people who do not know either program. For those who are adept at learning computer languages and are confident of their skills, we advise them to apply for the workshop. For those who know they are not adept and do not know either language, it would probably not be a good idea to apply. We anticipate that most attendees will be familiar with one or both of these programs.

Each day will involve about three hours of lecture time with breaks, then lunch, then three to four hours of hands on instruction in analysis that takes place in smaller groups. This breakout time will be organized around modules that we prepared to illustrate analytic practice with either R or STATA. Lunch can be local, inexpensive sandwiches or ethnic restaurants. During the evenings, we envisage that most dinners will be taken communally in local, inexpensive restaurants. The town of Evanston is beautiful in the summer and nearby Chicago offers plenty of leisure options for the weekend.

The workshop is funded by the Institute of Educational Sciences of the US Department of Education (Grant R305D140029), and thanks to this grant, all instructional and lodging costs will be met, but not travel or food costs. However, there are travel scholarships for 5 persons whose institutions cannot pay their way. Applicants who need a travel scholarship should request one. The Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University has agreed to defray the costs of breakfast snacks. Evanston has a large number of easily available, inexpensive, and good restaurants where workshop attendees may eat.

Applications to attend the workshop should be submitted by April 20, 2015 and decisions will be made by May 1, 2015. The application process will include a vita and a letter describing past, present, or future involvements with the conduct of quasi-experimental studies in education. The application form can be found at the workshop website (http://www.ipr.northwestern.edu/workshops/annual-summer-workshops/quasi-experimental-design-and-analysis/). For anyone with questions that the website does not address please contact Ms. Rebecca Morris at rebecca.morris@northwestern.edu<mailto:rebecca.morris@northwestern.edu>. Workshop instruction and accommodations will take place at the Orrington Hotel in Evanston, Illinois. The hotel has its own website (http://www.hotelorrington.com/) with pertinent information including details about getting from the local airports to the hotel.

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