Dr. Holmes Finch headlines the annual event.

Washington State University’s Learning Performance Research Center (LPRC) hosted its 11th annual Methods Workshop June 3-4, 2024, with both an in-person and online option.

Themed as “Examining Heterogeneity with Mixture Models”, the workshop focused on mixture modeling with an emphasis on application.

The workshop presenter this year was Holmes Finch, the George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology at Ball State University. Prior to going to Ball State in 2003, Finch managed the Statistical Consulting Laboratory at the University of South Carolina.

Like previous years’ guest presenters, Finch brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the event. This includes having published more than 200 articles, books, chapters, and software, making contributions to both applied and methodological literatures in measurement, statistics, and beyond.

“Holmes has a deep passion and curiosity for how statistics and research methods work and can be used to improve our society from health care to education,” said Brian French, Educational Psychology professor. “His ability to present complex material in an approachable and user-friendly manner was greatly appreciated.”

The workshop, as set by the LPRC, included:

  • Latent class analysis for categorical observed variables and its counterpart for continuous observed variables, latent profile analysis.
  • Comparing and contrasting these mixture modeling approaches to cluster analysis, another method for finding groups in data.
  • Latent transition analysis, which is designed for finding mixtures in longitudinal data.
  • Considering mixture models that identify population subgroups based on model parameters from regression analyses and factor analysis. In this, participants were provided with computer code to carry out these analyses using R and Mplus, as well as the example datasets.

“Holmes’s lessons were great for meeting the goals of the Methods Workshop,” said Chad Gotch, associate professor of Educational Psychology. “He was able to reach attendees from a wide range of disciplines, and lead them toward data analyses that are meaningful, not simply convenient.”

Thanks to funding from the Berry Family Distinguished Professorship fund, the Learning and Performance Research Center, and the College of Education’s Educational Psychology program, registration for this workshop — including course materials and in-person refreshments — was provided for the participants at no cost.

Doctoral candidate Onur Ramazan said the workshops have always been a great contributor to his career and professional development, providing the necessary knowledge and skills for advanced statistical methods, research projects, and competitive advantage in the job market.

“This year’s workshop was a great experience since it’s been informative and helpful to understand the latent class analysis and latent profile analysis as well as latent transition analysis with all details on their conceptual and methodological backgrounds,” he said. “The workshop also provided applied examples for the respective analyses which was great to see how these analyses are employed in research.”


In the news…

The following includes past news coverage of the Methods Workshop: