Speaker Series Spring 2022

The QMC would like to thank everyone who was able to attend our Fall 2021 Speaker Series, which tackled a variety of issues related to quantitative data! Information on the talks, including video recordings and additional material, can be found here.

Please look out for updates about our upcoming Fall 2022 Speaker Series on our website and our News from the QMC! As a brief reminder, all presentations for the 2021-2022 academic year will be held virtually via Zoom, and registration will be required for attendees to receive a Zoom link.

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. To request an accommodation or for inquiries about accessibility, or if you have any additional questions, please contact our Associate Director Brian Timm (timm.21). At least two weeks’ advance notice will help us to provide seamless access.

Spring Semester 2022 Speakers

Friday, February 11, 11:00am – 12:00pm: Dr. Jeremy Foote, Purdue University

Title: Using Social Media and Online Community Data for Social Science Research

Dr. Jeremy Foote is an Assistant Professor in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University and member of the Community Data Science Collective, a group of computational social scientists working to understand online communities. Dr. Foote received his PhD in Media, Technology, and Society from the School of Communication at Northwestern University, and has published work in academic journals including Social Science Research and computer science conferences including Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI).

His research interests focus on studying the processes that influence which communities gain attention and membership—why people start new communities, what pathways people take as they join and participate in different communities, etc. More broadly, Dr. Foote is interested in the conditions that promote cooperation, the social construction of understanding and knowledge, and how automated systems (algorithms, bots, etc.) influence the way social cognition happens. Dr. Foote frequently utilizes computational and statistical tools to analyze large datasets. In his most recently published paper, work by Dr. Foote and his colleague Sohyeon Hwang looks at on small Reddit communities and the processes by which they structure access to information and provide benefits unattainable from larger online groups.

You can read more about Dr. Jeremy Foote on his personal website here.

Registration is now closed for Dr. Foote’s talk. Please click the link here to view the recorded presentation.

Additionally, please view his YouTube video on Tweepy, a how-to video to use the Twitter API for Academic Research!

Friday, March 25, 11:00am – 12:00pm: Dr. Vivian Wong, University of Virginia

Title: Moving From What Works To What Replicates: A New Framework for Evidence Based Policy Analysis

Dr. Wong is an Associate Professor in Research, Statistics, and Evaluation in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on evaluating interventions in early childhood and K-12 systems. As a methodologist, her expertise is in improving the design, implementation and analysis of randomized experiments, regression-discontinuity, interrupted time series, and matching designs in field settings. Dr. Wong is the Principal Investigator for the Collaboratory Replication lab, and is the co-Principal Investigator of systematic replication studies in teacher education and special education. Dr. Wong’s has published numerous articles that have appeared in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, and Psychological Methods

Registration is now closed for Dr. Wong’s talk. Please click the link here to view the presentation.


Read the abstract for “Moving from What Works to What Replicates: A New Framework for Evidence Based Policy Analysis” below:


Moving From What Works To What Replicates: A New Framework for Evidence Based Policy Analysis

Vivian C Wong (University of Virginia), Peter M Steiner (University of Maryland)

Since the start of the war on poverty in the 1960s, social scientists have developed and refined experimental and quasi-experimental methods for evaluating and understanding the way public policies affect people’s lives. The overarching mission of many social scientists is to understand “what works” in social policy for reducing inequality, improving educational outcomes, and mitigating harms of early life disadvantage. This is a laudable goal. However, mounting evidence suggests that the results from many studies are fragile and hard to replicate. The so-called “replication crisis” has important implications for evidence-based analysis of social programs and policies. At the same time, there is intense debate about what constitutes a successful replication and why certain types of replication rates are so low. A crucial set of questions for evidence-based education policy must involve questions about external validity and the replicability of findings. We need to understand the contexts and conditions under which interventions and policies produce similar outcomes (Cartwright & Hardie, 2012; Manski, 2013).

In this research program, I introduce a new framework that provides a clear definition of replication, and highlights the conditions under which results are likely to replicate (Wong & Steiner, 2018) and generalize to broader target populations of interest. I present replication as a prospective research design. This makes it possible to define key assumptions for the direct replication of results, and shows how different replication designs can be derived, and used to evaluate treatment effect heterogeneity. I argue that replication designs are feasible, desirable, and relevant in real world evaluation settings that are important for empirical research in social policy.​

Friday, April 15, 11:00am – 12:00pm: Dr. Jim Fowler, The Ohio State University

Title: Lessons from the Calculus Knowledge Assessment

Dr. Jim Fowler is a mathematician at The Ohio State University. His research interests broadly include geometry and topology, and more specifically focus on the topology of high-dimensional manifolds and geometric group theory. In other words, he thinks in depth about highly symmetric geometric objects. He’s fond of using computational techniques to attack problems in pure mathematics.

Additionally, Dr. Fowler built the adaptive learning platform that powers MOOCulus, a massive open online course that features over 25 hours of calculus videos and exercises. This course was initially offered on Coursera during the Spring Semester of 2012–13 and had 47,000 students enrolled in the course, with several thousand successfully completing the 15-week course. Dr. Fowler’s talk will highlight the lessons he has learned from developing his Calculus Knowledge Assessment and how it has helped him develop stronger pedagogical insight on teaching.


Registration is now closed for Dr. Fowler’s talk. Please click the link here to view his presentation.