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Methods: Mind the Gap

Webinar Series

Open Data, Place-Based Research, and Getting the Measures We Need To Ask the Right Questions

December 6, 2018
Portrait of Dr. Mooney
Stephen J. Mooney, Ph.D.

Acting Assistant Professor, Epidemiology
School of Public Health
University of Washington

View the Webinar

About the Webinar

The internet offers unprecedented access to geographically precise information, from governmental administrative records to consumer-facing products like Google Street View. Though typically free to access, these data are frequently not directly interpretable as measures of the key constructs of researcher interest. Using freely available secondary data in place of primary data collection can be efficient, but it shifts the skill set researchers need from field logistics to assembling and validating measures from secondary data.

This presentation discusses approaches and useful tools for constructing measures of place from secondary data, including “ecometrics” (using psychometric techniques to build place-based scales), spatial interpolation, and assessing and correcting for sampling biases in crowdsourced data.

About Stephen J. Mooney

Stephen Mooney is Acting Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington in Seattle. He has a professional background as a computer programmer and recently obtained a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from Columbia University. His research focuses on how urban environments shape health, particularly through active transport and transport-related injury, and on developing methods to measure those urban environments accurately. His current research project is focused on building and validating the Automatic Context Measurement Tool, an environmental analog of the microarray, to gather a standardized set of environmental measures for any location in the United States.

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