Post.doc. Andrew Maul is employed in the Department of Teacher Education and School Research at the University of Oslo, Unit for Quantitative Analysis in Education (EKVA).
Post.doc. Andrew Maul
What is your current research on?
- I work on a variety of conceptual, technical, and applied projects in psychometrics. An area of intersection between many of my projects is the concept of “method effects.” Briefly, the question is this: when we observe individual differences in the outcomes of measurement procedures (including test scores), can we defend the hypothesis that these differences result from true differences in an underlying attribute (i.e., a latent variable), rather than specific methodological features of the measurement procedure? At the conceptual level, this intersects with a recently-growing literature on the philosophy-of-science foundations of psychometrics. At the technical level, statistical models for method effects have been developed independently in different traditions (factor analysis, item response theory, etc.) , but are not well-integrated, and some of my work attempts to synthesize these models and the ideas behind them. Finally, at the applied level, I am involved in a variety of psychometric projects , many of which deal with method effects. One of these projects addresses the integration of performance assessments with traditional item types in large-scale testing in the United States
Why is this research important?
- In my view, psychometrics is still a very young field and is not well-understood (or well-used) by the general educational research community. I hope that establishing semantic clarity, better model integration, and clear applications of these concepts and models helps to integrate psychometric advances into the wider social science research community.
What motivates you to conduct your research?
- I love it. I’m a total nerd, and I enjoy thinking about a wide range of topics. My research keeps me constantly stimulated, in ways that I hope are useful to others.
How is your research conducted?
- In a wide variety of ways. One day I’ll be running statistical models in MPlus and R, the next I’ll be debating the merits of various assessment strategies and hashing out plans with my colleagues, and the next I’ll be reading and writing philosophy papers all day.
Where do you get your ideas and approaches to problems from?
- I draw inspiration from my colleagues locally and around the world. Education and psychology are dynamic fields with constantly changing needs.
In your view, what are the challenges in your field of research in the time ahead?
As I hinted earlier, psychometrics needs to become better integrated with applied research in education and psychology. Psychometricians like myself will need to be able to clearly communicate the value of our activities to our substantively-focused colleagues. This in turn requires that we clarify the basic semantics of our field—in other words, we need to be clear about how our models relate to reality!