Issue: October 2011

The Methodology Center
Penn State Lion Shrine


Linda Collins' Research Achievements Recognized

Linda Collins with Dean Ann Crouter
Linda Collins with Dean Ann Crouter
Methodology Center Director Linda Collins is the recipient of the 2011 Evan G. and Helen G. Pattishall Outstanding Research Achievement Award. The award from Penn State's College of Health and Human Development and Alumni Association exists to "recognize and reward outstanding researchers for advancing the frontiers of knowledge." Linda is being acknowledged for her development of new research methods and for her contributions to the prevention of public health problems. Specifically noted were the Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST), a novel strategy for designing interventions, and Latent Transition Analysis, an innovative way to investigate behavior change over time.

Read more about Linda's research.


Featured Article: How to Estimate Causal Effects in Mediation

How to Estimate Causal Effects Using Propensity ScoresIn a new article in the journal Structural Equation Modeling, Methodology Center researcher Donna Coffman illustrates a new method for estimating causality when a mediator is present. The graphic on the left illustrates a standard mediation model. In this model, we hypothesize that a treatment affects a mediator, and the mediator then affects an outcome. For example, in a hypothetical HIV-prevention intervention, subjects receive condom-use training (a treatment), which impacts their attitudes toward condom use (a mediator), which in turn improves their condom use (an outcome). However, because mediators (such as someone's attitude) often cannot be randomly assigned, we cannot make accurate causal statements about their effects on the outcome using traditional methods. In the article, Donna proposes and demonstrates incorporating propensity scores into mediation analysis. This new approach will allow researchers to more accurately measure the mediated effect of a treatment on an outcome.

Read more.


Facebook Contest Winner

Em Arpawong
    Em Arpawong
Thanks to those who liked us on Facebook. You may recall we promised one of our lucky friends a copy of Linda Collins and Stephanie Lanza's book, Latent Class and Latent Transition Analysis: With Applications in the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, and the book goes to Em Arpawong. Em is working on her PhD in Health Behavior Research at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on positive psychosocial changes among high-risk youth following a traumatic event, and the association with change in substance use behaviors. She is interested in using latent class analysis to test the existence of theorized groups of people who have suffered a traumatic event. We wish her the best in her research.

Visit our Facebook page.



Final print newsletter next month

The eNews is taking November off because we are sending out the final edition of The Methodology Perspective, our print newsletter. Thanks for reading; the eNews will return in December. The newsletter will be available at The Methodology Center website once it is published. Send any suggestions, questions, or comments to


Poll Results

Thanks to all of you who participated in last month's poll about which tutorial videos you would like to see. The votes were split quite evenly between all proposed videos; each item was endorsed by over half of the voters. So we will create and post more videos and then ask for more feedback. We will announce videos in future editions of the eNews, or you can always check The Methodology Center website for the latest videos and news.


Follow us

Find us on Facebook View our profile on LinkedIn Follow us on Twitter

Methodology Minutes


The Methodology Center
204 East Calder Way, Suite 400
State College, PA 16801

Phone: 814-865-3253
Fax: 814-863-0000