Educational Measurement and Research
Statistical Software Packages
In addition to the common Microsoft office software such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Access, the Department uses a variety of statistical software packages to analyze both quantitative and qualitative data. These packages include general statistical software as well as specialty software packages. These packages are available at the computer store in the Marshall Student Center and on-line at student discounted prices: http://www.computerstore.usf.edu/. USF also offers several software applications (e.g., SAS, SPSS, ATLAS.ti) online for free of charge at http://apps.usf.edu/Citrix/XenAppCAS/. These applications can be accessed anytime, anywhere on one’s own computer or even Iphone.
In addition, the computer store offers many computer software programs (e.g., Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat) at discounted rates for staff and students. Graduate students who work on campus (e.g., GRAs, GTAs) and receive a paycheck from USF are considered staff and qualify to receive the discounted staff rates, which are often cheaper than the student prices. The discounted rates for students and staff are a great benefit of which many students are not aware.
Statistical and Measurement Software
From traditional descriptive statistics, t-tests, analysis of variance, and predictive modeling to exact methods and statistical visualization techniques, SAS/STAT software provides tools for both specialized and enterprise-wide analytical needs. The majority of the Educational Measurement and Research faculty use SAS, and SAS is the statistical program used in the stat courses you will take in the department.
The computer program SPSS (originally, Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) was released in its first version in 1968, and is among the most widely used programs for statistical analysis in social science. It is used by market researchers, health researchers, survey companies, government, education researchers, and others. In addition to statistical analysis, data management (case selection, file reshaping, creating derived data) and data documentation (a metadata dictionary is stored with the data) are features of the base software.
During the last thirty years, the LISREL model, methods, and software have become synonymous with structural equation modeling (SEM). SEM allows researchers in the social sciences, management sciences, behavioral sciences, biological sciences, educational sciences, and other fields to empirically assess their theories. These theories are usually formulated as theoretical models for observed and latent (unobservable) variables. If data are collected for the observed variables of the theoretical model, the LISREL program can be used to fit the model to the data.
Mplus is a statistical modeling program that provides researchers with a flexible tool to analyze their data. Mplus offers researchers a wide choice of models, estimators, and algorithms in a program that has an easy-to-use interface and graphical displays of data and analysis results. Mplus allows the analysis of both cross-sectional and longitudinal data, single-level and multilevel data, and data that come from different populations with either observed or unobserved heterogeneity. Mplus has extensive capabilities for Monte Carlo simulation studies, where data can be generated and analyzed according to any of the models included in the program.
BILOG-MG handles multiple groups, multiple subtests, and multiple test forms in one analysis, and it includes a simplified forms specification. Both normal and empirical latent distributions can be specified by the user. Bayes estimation of scale scores can be done with a group-specific or global prior. It computes information curves and statistics by form as well as by test. The user can perform similar computations for any arbitrarily selected subset of items.
A research-oriented IRT program that handles all the major models: 1, 2, and 3 parameter logistic, multiple nominal categories, graded rating scale model, partial credit model, multiple-choice model, and constrained parameter models.
Stata is a complete, integrated statistical package that provides everything you need for data analysis, data management, and graphics. Stata 9 includes linear mixed models, balanced repeated replications, and multinomial probit.
SUDAAN is designed for the analysis of cluster-correlated data for studies involving recurring events, repeated measures, longitudinal data, multivariate outcomes, multi-stage sample designs, stratified designs, and unequally weighted data. Among other things, SUDAAN software offers 3 variance estimation methods.
Qualitative Data Analysis
ATLAS.ti serves as a powerful utility for qualitative analysis, particularly when working with larger bodies of textual, graphical, audio, and video data. The content or subject matter of these materials is in no way limited to any one particular field of scientific or scholarly investigation. Typical application areas for ATLAS.ti are characterized by a systematic, yet creative approach to analyzing unstructured data.
CDC EZ-Text is a FREE software program developed to assist researchers create, manage, and analyze semi-structured qualitative databases. Key features include the Import Text File feature which allows users to easily copy interview data from a text file into an EZ-Text database and the reliability agent which calculates statistics and generates reports for the degree of agreement between two coders.
NVivo is designed to support a wide range of research methods, including grounded theory, phenomenology and discourse analysis. From initial literature reviews and project design, through to analysis and reporting, if you're working in the education sector, you can count on QSR software to help you achieve rigorous results. If you need to handle very rich information, where deep levels of analysis on both small and large volumes of data are required, NVivo is your solution. It removes many of the manual tasks associated with analysis, like classifying, sorting, and arranging information, so you have more time to explore trends, build and test theories and ultimately arrive at answers to questions.