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The study of human development is undertaken using a broad range of qualitative and quantitative methods ranging from controlled experimental designs in laboratory settings to quasi-experimental designs in naturalistic settings to large scale surveys of probability samples. Data collection methods vary and include, but are not limited to, observation, survey, and interviews. Qualitative and quantitative (statistical) analyses are undertaken to evaluate data. High quality study designs and statistical analyses are critical to the research undertaken in human development. Faculty working in this area are developing and using methods for the evaluation of human beings and their development. Some of the areas of study include experimental and survey design, model development, measurement, sampling, and estimation.

Faculty Research

  • Sharon Christ
    Dr. Christ’s methodological work is quantitative and focuses on structural equation modeling (SEM) and hierarchical (HLM) or mixed-effects modeling, especially longitudinal models of development. Particular interests are in measurement, missing data, and complex sample data analysis. Her work is centered on the accommodation of complex sample design features in SEM and HLM including probability weighting. She is also applying generalized linear structural equation modeling (GLSEM) methodologies to her work in adolescent well-being and development.
  • David Purpura
    Dr. Purpura’s methodology interests focus on academic and behavioral assessment development. He has placed a particular emphasis on utilizing Item Response Theory to develop reliable, valid, and efficient measures of children’s mathematical skills and behavioral problems.