James Madison University

Quantitative Psychology Student Wins Best Research Paper Award at Conference

Liz Pyburn, a student in the Quantitative Psychology Concentration of the Psychological Sciences M.A. program, received the competitive "Best Paper by a Graduate Student" Award from the Northeastern Educational Research Association (NERA). Liz presented this empirical research at NERA in October 2014.  Her paper, along with numerous other papers, was subsequently reviewed for quality and contribution to the field by scholars attending the conference. Liz will be formally recognized for her award-winning research at the NERA 2015 conference. Below is a brief summary of her praise-worthy work, which was supervised by her advisor and co-author Dr. Jeanne Horst.

Liz is now a 1st year doctoral student in the Assessment & Measurement PhD program at JMU.

Pyburn, E., Johnston, M., Horst, S.J., & Hathcoat, J. (2014, Oct).  A psychometric evaluation of Miami University Diversity Awareness Subscales. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Northeastern Educational Research Association, Rocky Hill, CT.

PHOTO: Pyburn Award

Abstract: Scores from two subscales of the Miami University Diversity Awareness Scale (Learning/Knowledge and Intercultural Interaction) were systematically evaluated using data collected from 2,332 sophomore undergraduate students. The study was conducted in four stages. Item wording was carefully evaluated (Stage One). A series of factor analytic studies on full and reduced sets of items were conducted using random, independent subsamples (Stages Two and Three). There was support for three factors (Cultural Awareness, Personal Awareness, and Openness to Diversity) when analyzing the reduced set of items. Configural and metric invariance across gender was also supported (Stage Four), providing evidence for similar properties of the scores for males and females. Implications and suggestions for use of and future development of the scale are addressed.