A selection of previous research projects

Applications and understandings of multilevel modelling in the social sciences

September 1999 - February 2003

Project papers

The team

This project extended existing work on multilevel modelling in three main areas:

  1. The project continued to develop methodological tools for the analysis of complex social data; as increasingly sophisticated methodology was developed in this area it was apparent that further work is necessary to properly model the complexity of data from social systems.
  2. The project built on the existing MLwiN software with its innovative graphical interface in order to make it accessible to users in ways which mirror their own understandings of their data and help them to gain further insights into data structures.
  3. The project developed a range of dissemination and training materials, largely using the internet to raise awareness and understanding in the social science community and outside.

Applications of advanced multilevel modelling methods for the analysis of examination data

January 1998 - March 2001

The team

The research had two aims.

  1. To develop existing multilevel methodology to handle efficiently measurement errors and ordered categorical responses.
  2. To provide substantive conclusions from an analysis of a very large cohort of students with GCSE and A level examination results.

This work has been supported by Economic and Social Research Council through grant number R000237394. Data provided by Department for Education and Employment.

Project papers

Progress from GCSE to A and AS level: institutional and gender differences, and trends over time

This paper has appeared in the British Educational Research Journal, Vol. 27, No. 3. 2001:

A sub-sample of the data analysed in the paper is provided in the form of an MLwiN worksheet, along with information on the worksheet:

Multilevel ordinal models for examination grades

Multivariate multilevel analysis of examination results

Research project evaluation

The project was graded as outstanding.

Bootstrapping measurement error in multilevel models

January 2000 - November 2000

It is well-known that measurement error in dependent or independent variables can lead to misleading inferences in regression-type applications (including multilevel modelling). There have been developments which enable the question to be dealt with in some situations, but these are not widely available and deal with only a proportion of the possible measurement error mechanisms. This project will develop a methodology based on bootstrap resampling which would enable simple treatment of a wide range of measurement error mechanisms. This project is taking place in conjunction with the development of MLwiN, and it is aimed to operationalise the results in future releases.

Developing graphical and inferential tools for social data analysis

October 1998 - August 1999

In recent years statistical methods have been developed for analysing complex social data known as multilevel models, these procedures have found wide use in the social sciences such as education, economics, demography, politics etc. With the increasing power of personal computers and the quality of graphic displays it is now possible to implement more powerful methods that are very computer intensive and require sophisticated levels of understanding from users. These procedures promise to provide new insights into complex data structures. The project aims to make it easier for social scientists to gain access to these procedures via the use of informative graphical interfaces for the specification and analysis of these complex structures. The project will develop the existing MLwiN software interface for this purpose and provide exemplar materials.

Advanced training workshops in multilevel modelling

April 1997 - April 1999

Following the work of the multilevel models project under phase 1 of ALCD, phase 2 of ALCD has allocated money for five advanced training workshops in multilevel modelling. There are a large number of users of this technique who now require help in extending their skills to handle a greater complexity of data, spatial data, time series etc. Five 2 day workshops are to be held at the Institute of Education for up to 12 invited participants at each. The topic areas and principal organisers are as follows: Education - Harvey Goldstein Environmental Economics - Ian Langford Health services data - Alastair Leyland Political Science - Anthony Heath Demography - Ian Diamond.

Optimal multilevel models of school effectiveness: Comparative analyses across regions

October 1995 - September 1998

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