Pamela Davis-Kean is a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, where she directs the Human Development and Quantitative Methods Lab. She is both a methodologist and substantive researcher. Her research focuses on the various pathways that the socio-economic status (SES) of parents relates to the cognitive/achievement outcomes of their children. Her primary focus is on parental educational attainment and how it can influence the development of the home environment throughout childhood, adolescence, and the transition to adulthood. Davis-Kean is also a Research Professor at the Institute for Social Research where she is the Program Director of the Population, Neurodevelopment, and Genetics (PNG) program. This collaboration examines the complex transactions of brain, biology, and behavior as children and families develop across time. She is interested in how both the micro (brain and biology) and macro (family and socioeconomic conditions) aspects of development relate to cognitive changes in children across the lifespan.
Secondary data analysis of large longitudinal and national data sets is a standard method used in many social sciences to answer complex questions regarding behavior. In this talk, Dr. Davis-Kean will detail the advantages of using these data sets to study education and health questions across the lifespan. First, she will provide an overview of how using secondary data can increase studies’ scientific integrity. Then, she will detail where and how data sets can be obtained that answer specific questions. Finally, she will discuss methodological issues related to using longitudinal, population data sets. These data sets can enhance science and test theories by increasing the rigor and generalizability of research to the general population, making secondary data analysis an important method to consider.