The next TIER Faculty Development Workshop will take place November 17-18, 2017, on the campus of Haverford College. Applications received by October 14 will receive full consideration.
This workshop is intended for faculty who are interested in incorporating principles of transparent and reproducible research in their teaching and/or research advising. The workshop will emphasize research methods in the social sciences, but participation is not limited to social science faculty. Instructors from departments of math and statistics, or other fields in which quantitative methods are important, are welcome as well. We are seeking participants who teach classes and/or supervise research involving applied analysis of statistical data, regardless of their disciplinary homes. Faculty from both graduate and undergraduate programs are invited to apply.
The focus of the workshop will be a system for documenting empirical research that we have developed over a number of years teaching introductory statistics classes and advising senior theses. This system, which we call the TIER Protocol, specifies a set of electronic files—including data, computer code, and supplementary information—that students prepare in the course of conducting their research projects, and submit when they turn in their final papers. The guiding principle behind the protocol is that the information included in the documentation should be complete and transparent enough to allow an interested third party to easily and exactly reproduce all the steps of data management and analysis that led from the original data files to the results reported in the paper.
The workshop will include a thorough exposition of the structure and content of the documentation specified by the protocol, strategies we have developed for teaching students to use it to document their own empirical research projects, and the range of pedagogical benefits that result. Since training in research methods takes place in a variety of contexts, we will also discuss ways in which individual instructors can modify the protocol to suit their particular needs.
We expect that, after the workshop, participants will communicate with us about how they use the TIER protocol—or some version of it suitably adapted to their circumstances—to incorporate the principles of transparency and reproducibility in their own classes and research advising.
The workshop will last for one and one-half days. The topics to be covered include:
- The broad principles underlying the protocol: replicability, transparency and integrity.
- How those principles are embodied in the protocol.
- Teaching students to use the protocol to document their own research.
- Web platforms for creating and sharing documentation.
- Pedagogical benefits of the protocol.
- Implications of our student-oriented protocol for standards of professional practice in empirical social science research.
We are keenly interested in hearing the participants’ views on the protocol, its potential for enhancing student research experiences, and potential obstacles to its dissemination. The workshop will therefore be conducted in a participatory, discussion-oriented format. To facilitate active and inclusive discussion, the number of participants in the workshop will be capped at about 10.
The workshop will be software-neutral, by which we mean that the presentation and discussion of the protocol will be conducted in terms that apply to users of any programmable statistical package, such as Stata, SPSS, SAS and R. (Most of the examples we present will be done with Stata, but the principles we discuss translate easily to any of the major statistical packages.)
The methods presented at the workshop can be adopted by users of any programmable statistical software package, including Matlab, R, SAS, SPSS, Stata and many others.
However, all the methods we present require students to write editable command files that execute all the data processing and analysis they conduct for a project. They cannot be adopted by students who only work with their data interactively with a point-and-click or drop-and-drag interface--for example, when using Excel, or when relying on the drop-down menus available in Stata and SPSS.
Note, however, that it is not necessary for students to be proficient at writing command files before they begin learning the TIER Protocol: We will discuss strategies for teaching students to conduct their work in editable command files at the same time they are learning principles and methods of reproducible research.
After the workshop, we plan to maintain regular contact with the participants so that we can learn about their experiences teaching the protocol to their students, and/or to offer further guidance or assistance. In particular, we will ask you to keep us up-to-date about ways that you are incorporating transparency and replicability in your teaching and advising, and to share with us syllabi and other materials (e.g., instructions for research projects, assignments and exercises, handouts) from relevant courses.
We will also facilitate communication (web-based and/or in person) among participants, so that they are able to share experiences and ideas with one another directly. Our ultimate goal is to foster the development of a national network of educators committed to integrating methods of empirical research documentation, guided by the principle of transparency, into the curricula of the social sciences.
Participants in this workshop who are interested in taking on a substantial and sustained role in the development of Project TIER will also be welcome to apply for the 2018-19 round of TIER Faculty Fellowships. Please note, however, that we typically receive many more Fellowship applications than we have places available, so the selection is competitive.
The workshop will take place on the campus of Haverford College, in Haverford, PA, which is located about 10 miles west of Philadelphia.
It will begin at about noon on Friday, November 17, and end at about 5:00 PM on Saturday, November 18.
Housing and meals will be provided free of charge for all participants. Housing will be in single guest rooms on or near the Haverford College campus.
We ask applicants to seek funds for travel expenses from their home institutions. However, for individuals not able to obtain internal support, some financial assistance is available for travel to and from the workshop.
Applying for the Workshop
The target deadline for applications is October 14. Candidates who apply by that date will be notified of acceptance decisions by October 20. Applications received after October 14 will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the workshop is filled.
We will be able to host a maximum of about 10 participants at the workshop. The main criteria for selection will be:
- Evidence of a candidate’s commitment to incorporating the TIER protocol—or a suitably adapted way of teaching students to make their empirical research reproducible and transparent—into her/his own teaching and/or supervision of student research.
- Evidence of a candidate’s motivation to remain in touch with us after the workshop and play an active role in the community of transparency-minded educators we seek to foster.
Please use this on-line form to submit your application.
No recommendation letters are required, but we do ask that you include a letter from a department chair, dean, or some other responsible figure, indicating that your responsibilities in the next few years will include opportunities to incorporate principles and methods discussed at the workshop into your courses and/or research advising.