Deep Dive Workshops at SPSP 2019

By Brenda Straka

The holidays are over and the SPSP conference is right around the corner! Now is a great time to nail down your plans for the convention. One of the great events that SPSP offers is their Deep Dive Workshops which provide instruction on practical knowledge and skills on various topics of interest.

This year, there are some exciting workshops being offered on the following topics:

  • Psychological Measurement: From Conceptualization to Confirmation
  • Theory and Practice of Bayesian Inferences Using JASP
  • Sample Size Planning for Appropriate Statistical Power
  • Mediation with Respect-Measures and Multilevel Data
  • Reproducible Data Analysis and Paper Writing in R

To learn more about these workshops, we talked to some of the students that will be leading them!

Jessica Kosie (Univ. of Oregon) is co-leading the workshop on “Reproducible Data Analysis and Paper Writing in R.”

Alexander Etz (UC Irvine), Johnny van Doorn (Univ. Amsterdam), and Quentin Gronau (Univ. Amsterdam) are co-leading the workshop on “Theory and Practice of Bayesian Inference Using JASP.”

1. Have you lead a workshop before? If so, what was that workshop on? 

Kosie: My co-leader (Dr. Sara Weston) and I have led a number of similar workshops in the past. For example, at the beginning of Fall term, I taught a nine-hour R Bootcamp (across three days) to incoming graduate students at the University of Oregon. I also recently taught the intro to R section of a similar workshop organized by Dr. Michael C. Frank at the conference of the International Congress on Infant Studies. 

Etz, van Doorn, Gronau: Between the three of us, we have been involved in more than 20 workshops in the past covering the theory and application of Bayesian statistics. These workshops have ranged from 3 hours to entire week-long courses. Alex taught a deep-dive workshop at the 2017 SPSP meeting in San Antonio on this same topic and it was well-received by conference-goers.

2. How did you come to lead this workshop in particular? How have you prepared to lead this workshop?

Kosie: Tools like R and R Markdown have become increasingly popular in recent years, and they make it easier to conduct transparent, reproducible research. Early in my training I recognized the value of using R and began learning to program. I was involved in transitioning the University of Oregon Psychology Department’s graduate statistics sequence from SPSS into R, which has prepared me well for leading this workshop. From my experience teaching R, I’ve learned which concepts are most likely to be challenging for beginning users, and I make sure to address these topics early in the workshop. I enjoy introducing others to R and try to make coding feel accessible to everyone.

Etz, van Doorn, Gronau: The psychological community has recently warmed up to the idea that there are multiple valid ways to approach any given statistical analysis, and Bayesian statistics has emerged as an attractive alternative to the status quo. Being so new, however, means that Bayesian statistics has not yet made its way into traditional undergraduate (or even graduate) methods courses. Workshops like these fill this important educational gap, and JASP software makes it easy to implement Bayesian analogues of almost any traditional statistical analysis. We should mention JASP is freely available and we encourage anyone interested in Bayesian statistics to give it a try!

3. Is this topic related to your own research, or something you have found particular useful to your work?

Kosie: I've found R to be particularly useful in my day-to-day research. I incorporate Open Science practices into all of my own work and regularly share these practices with others. Using R is a great way to create well-commented, reproducible, and easily shareable code (and manuscripts!) and facilitates transparent and replicable analyses.

Etz, van Doorn, Gronau: Our research, in part, involves the development and implementation of Bayesian methods in psychology, so the material in this workshop ties directly into our day-to-day work. Additionally, we are part of the JASP software team so any new analyses we develop get promptly added to the suite of analyses already available in the software. 

4. How did you design this workshop? What will it cover?

Kosie: This workshop will cover basic R use and packages (tidyverse and ggplot) and an introduction to writing papers in R Markdown. We will start the workshop by giving participants a solid understanding of R basics so that they're prepared to move on to tidyverse, ggplot, and R Markdown.

Etz, van Doorn, Gronau: In our experience, psychologists who attend this type of workshop have two main questions: What is Bayesian statistics all about? And, how can I use Bayesian statistics in my own research projects? We use a mix of lectures and fun hands-on activities to answer these questions.

5. What do you hope for attendees to gain from this workshop?

Kosie: My hope is that beginning R users who attend the workshop start to feel comfortable with the programming language and ready to begin using it in their own work. I additionally hope that our coverage of topics like tidyverse, ggplot, and/or R Markdown will enable more experienced R users to learn a new, useful R skill (we will likely move on to tidyverse/ggplot after the first hour, and more experienced R users are welcome to come in late).

Etz, van Doorn, Gronau: Our hope is that attendees of this workshop walk away with the knowledge and confidence needed to implement routine Bayesian analyses in their own research projects. 

You can read more about all the workshops and register to attend here.
Don’t miss out on this enriching opportunity, sign up today!