IMC: Marc Ratkovic, “Sparse Estimation with Uncertainty: Subgroup Analysis in Large Dimensional Designs” this Friday, 11/4 at noon Eastern

This Friday, November 4th at noon Eastern time, the International Methods Colloquium will host a presentation by Marc Ratkovic of Princeton University. Marc’s presentation is titled “Sparse Estimation with Uncertainty: Subgroup Analysis in Large Dimensional Designs.” The presentation will draw on the following paper, joint work with Dustin Tingley of Harvard University:

https://www.princeton.edu/~ratkovic/public/sparsereg.pdf

To tune in to the presentation and participate in the discussion after the talk, visit http://www.methods-colloquium.com/ and click “Watch Now!” on the day of the talk. To register for the talk in advance, click here:

https://riceuniversity.zoom.us/webinar/register/c52325f3b06b75587c24e00bf0acd2b8

The IMC uses Zoom, which is free to use for listeners and works on PCs, Macs, and iOS and Android tablets and phones. You can be a part of the talk from anywhere around the world with access to the Internet. The presentation and Q&A will last for a total of one hour.

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IMC: Jacob Montgomery, “Human computation scaling for measuring meaningful latent traits in political texts”

This Friday, October 28th at noon Eastern time, the International Methods Colloquium will host a presentation by Jacob Montgomery of Washington University in St. Louis. Professor Montgomery’s presentation is titled “Human computation scaling for measuring meaningful latent traits in political texts.” The presentation will draw on a paper of the same name, co-authored with David Carlson:

http://jee3.web.rice.edu/SentimentIt.pdf

To tune in to the presentation and participate in the discussion after the talk, visit http://www.methods-colloquium.com/ and click “Watch Now!” on the day of the talk. To register for the talk in advance, click here:

https://riceuniversity.zoom.us/webinar/register/be56c6d1438e3d478c34be5db4a05ad8

The IMC uses Zoom, which is free to use for listeners and works on PCs, Macs, and iOS and Android tablets and phones. You can be a part of the talk from anywhere around the world with access to the Internet. The presentation and Q&A will last for a total of one hour.

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IMC: Sarah Bouchat, “Engaging Experts: Dealing with Divergent Elicited Priors in Political Science” this Friday, 10/21 at 12:00 PM Eastern

This Friday, October 21st at noon Eastern time, the International Methods Colloquium will host a presentation by Sarah Bouchat of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sarah’s presentation is titled “Engaging Experts: Dealing with Divergent Elicited Priors in Political Science.” The presentation will draw on this paper (of the same title):

http://bouchat.github.io/Bouchat-IMCpaper.pdf

To tune in to the presentation and participate in the discussion, visit http://www.methods-colloquium.com/ and click “Watch Now!” on the day of the talk. To register for the talk in advance, click here:

https://riceuniversity.zoom.us/webinar/register/c15c083b1f333260dc2040ba88984b7b

The IMC uses Zoom, which is free to use for listeners and works on PCs, Macs, and iOS and Android tablets and phones. You can be a part of the talk from anywhere around the world with access to the Internet. The presentation and Q&A will last for a total of one hour.

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IMC: Andrew Gelman, “The Statistical Crisis in Science” this Friday, 10/14 at 12:00 PM Eastern

This Friday, October 14th at noon Eastern time, the International Methods Colloquium will inaugurate its Fall 2016 series of talks with a presentation by Andrew Gelman of Columbia University. Professor Gelman’s presentation is titled “The Statistical Crisis in Science.” The presentation will draw on these two papers:

“Beyond Power Calculations: Assessing Type S (Sign) and Type M (Magnitude) Errors”
http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/research/published/retropower_final.pdf

“Disagreements about the Strength of Evidence”
http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/research/published/ChanceEthics12.pdf

To tune in to the presentation and participate in the discussion after the talk, visit http://www.methods-colloquium.com/ and click “Watch Now!” on the day of the talk. To register for the talk in advance, click here:

https://riceuniversity.zoom.us/webinar/register/6272124085322b4fdc2040ba88984b7b

The IMC uses Zoom, which is free to use for listeners and works on PCs, Macs, and iOS and Android tablets and phones. You can be a part of the talk from anywhere around the world with access to the Internet. The presentation and Q&A will last for a total of one hour.

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2016-2017 Schedule of the International Methods Colloquium

I’m pleased to announce the schedule of speakers in the International Methods Colloquium series for 2016-2017!

Andrew Gelman, Columbia University October 14th
Sarah Bouchat, University of Wisconsin October 21st
Jacob Montgomery, WUSTL October 28th
Marc Ratkovic, Princeton University November 4th
Pete Mohanty, Stanford University November 11th
Women Also Know Stuff Roundtable (Emily Beaulieu, Amber Boydstun, Yanna Krupnikov, Melissa Michelson, Christina Wolbrecht) November 18th
Gina Yannitell Reinhardt, University of Essex February 3rd
Phil Schrodt, Parus Analytics February 10th
Jane Sumner, University of Minnesota February 17th
Ines Levin, UC Irvine February 24th
Lauren Prather, UCSD March 3rd
Christopher Lucas, Harvard University March 10th
Yuki Shiraito, Princeton University March 17th

Additional information for each talk (including a title and link to relevant paper) will be released closer to its date.

The International Methods Colloquium (IMC) is a weekly seminar series of methodology-related talks and roundtable discussions focusing on political methodology; the series is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The IMC is free to attend from anywhere around the world using a PC or Mac, a broadband internet connection, and our free software. You can find out more about the IMC at our website:

http://www.methods-colloquium.com/

where you can register for any of these talks and/or join a talk in progress using the “Watch Now!” link. You can also watch archived talks from previous IMC seasons at this site.

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Spring 2016 Print Edition Released!

The Spring 2016 edition of The Political Methodologist is now available!

I am also relieved to announce that my term as editor is ending, and the search for a new editorial team for The Political Methodologist has now begun! The search is being spearheaded by the current Society President, Jeff Lewis. Those who are interested in taking over editorship of TPM should contact Jeff via e-mail at jblewis@polisci.ucla.edu. The current Rice editorial team is also happy to answer any questions about editing TPM; please direct inquiries to justin@justinesarey.com.

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Shiny App: Course Workload Estimator

I recently had the opportunity to dip my toe in developing web applications using Shiny through R. I was first introduced to the idea by one of my former graduate students, Jane Sumner (now starting as an Assistant Professor in political methodology at the University of Minnesota). Jane developed a tool to analyze the gender balance of assigned readings using Shiny that later went viral (at least among the nerds I run with).

Elizabeth Barre (of Rice University’s Center for Teaching Excellence) had talked to me about creating an application that allows both teachers and students to figure out exactly how much out-of-class work is being expected of them. A web application would enable visitors to input information from a syllabus and obtain a workload estimate based on pedagogical research about reading and writing speeds. She did the research and much of the graphic design of the app; I wrote the back-end code, set up a hosting server, and chipped in a little on the user interface design.

The result of our efforts is available at http://cte.rice.edu/workload; clicking the link will open a new window containing the app and extensive details about how we calculate our workload estimates. Unfortunately, wordpress.com won’t let me directly embed the app on this page (although generally Shiny apps can be embedded via iframes). However, you can see what it looks like here:

Capture

The Course Workload Estimator Tool, available at http://cte.rice.edu/workload.

The tool is interesting on its own because it illustrates just how easy it is to expect too much of our students, even our graduate students, in a three or four credit hour course (see an extended discussion of these issues on the CTE’s blog). I found that a normal graduate student syllabus can easily contain 20+ hours of out-of-class work, a substantial burden for a student taking three courses and working on his/her own research. But it was also interesting as an experiment in using R skills for web developing.

The Shiny website provides a great tutorial that can help you get started, and going through that tutorial will probably be necessary even for an experienced R programmer just because Shiny’s architecture is a little different. But I was still surprised how low the start-up costs were for me. It’s especially easy if you’re using RStudio as an IDE and hosting your application through Shiny’s service, shinyapps.io. In just a few hours, I was able to create and publish a rough-draft but working web application for testing purposes.

Things got a little rougher when I decided that I wanted to save on bandwidth costs by building my own Shiny server in the cloud and hosting my apps there. Two tutorials posted by veteran users (available here and here) helped me get started, but experience using Linux (and particularly Ubuntu) was helpful for me in understanding what was going on. Past experience became particularly relevant when I realized that the tutorials’ recipes for setting up /etc/nginx/sites-available/default were causing my server to break and I had to go through line by line to figure out what was wrong. (Eventually, I was able to sequentially modify the default file until I had the features I wanted). Still, within 3 or 4 hours, I had my own server set up and hosted on DigitalOcean, with a domain at shiny.justinesarey.com pointing to the server and the course workload app running smoothly.

In summary, I highly recommend checking out Shiny as a tool for teaching statistics and publicizing your research. It’s incredibly easy to do if you’re already experienced with programming in R and are hosting your apps through shinyapps.io.

Source code for the Course Workload Estimator tool is available here.

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