Issue: January 2014
eNews from The Methodology Center
Linda Collins Happy new year to everyone! As The Methodology Center looks forward to our next Center grant application, we are thinking about the future of our software development. For this, we need your help.

There are many excellent platforms for software development. Each one offers a different set of opportunities to end users and makes different resource demands on us as software developers. We can develop for only a limited number of platforms, so we need your feedback about what statistical software you use and plan to use. The survey below takes less than five minutes to complete.

Thank you in advance for your assistance; your participation will help us provide the most useful software.

Best regards,
Collins Signature

Linda Collins
Director, The Methodology Center

Take the survey.

qlaci R package

We are pleased to announce the release of the qlaci (Q-learning with adaptive confidence intervals) R package. This is a tool for designing an adaptive intervention using data from a sequential, multiple assignment, randomized trial (SMART). Interventions that adapt at the right times can improve participant outcomes (e.g., intensifying for people who do not respond to the initial treatment) while decreasing the cost and burden of the intervention (e.g., stepping down treatment for participants who respond). SMART designs provide the data needed to construct high-quality adaptive interventions. 

Qlaci requires R 2.15. or higher, which is available for free download. This package is designed to work on Windows, Mac, or Linux operating systems.

Read more about SMART.

Download the software.

PROC LCA We have released PROC LCA v. 1.3.1 to fix a bug related to the seed_draws statement in v. 1.3.0 that sometimes causes an error. If you used seed_draws and did not receive an error message, then the output generated is reliable. There is no change in functionality between v. 1.3.0 and 1.3.1.


Download PROC LCA v. 1.3.1.

See all available software.

Linda Collins

The multiphase optimization strategy (MOST) provides a framework for building effective and efficacious behavioral interventions by emphasizing efficiency and resource management. One of the cornerstones of MOST is selecting the most efficient and appropriate design for each experiment; in many instances this is a factorial experiment. (Read more about factorial experimental designs.)  


In a new article in Translational Behavioral Medicine, Linda Collins and her coauthors explore how to use data from a factorial screening experiment to decide what should be included in the experimental intervention treatment package. This article is aimed at scientists who are considering conducting a factorial screening experiment.


Read more.

Seeking Director for Penn State's Prevention Research Center Penn State is looking for the next director of the Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development (PRC). The PRC, established in 1998, focuses on etiological and translational research examining how families, schools, and communities can work together to promote healthy children, youth, and families. The PRC is The Methodology Center's sister center; we frequently collaborate with their scientists, and the Prevention and Methodology Training (PAMT) program is a joint program between the PRC and The Methodology Center. We are looking for someone with the experience, vision, and passion to help shape the future of prevention research.


Read more.

See the full job posting.


The latest issue of Research Penn State discusses research led by Nancy Landale. The research team, which includes Methodology Center Scientific Director Stephanie Lanza, used latent class analysis (LCA) to examine health disparities for children of Mexican immigrants.


Open Research Penn State. (See p. 32.)


Susan Murphy 2014 was an incredible year for The Methodology Center, and a major highlight was Methodology Center Investigator Susan Murphy being named a MacArthur fellow for developing the sequential, multiple assignment, randomized trial (SMART).


3-minute MacArthur Foundation profile.


If you missed it last month, our latest annual report is now available online. Get a broad overview of our research in just a few minutes.


Open the annual report.


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