Sydney School of Education and Social Work events – 2015 Archive

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Qualitative and quantitative research methods


2 September 2015

How much variation in achievement, motivation and engagement is there from student-to-student, class-to-class, and school-to-school? How much variation in income or unemployment is there from house-to-house, suburb-to-suburb, and council-to-council? Answers to these questions hold significant implications for policy and practice. Multilevel (or hierarchical linear) modelling is used to explore the extent to which variance in a particular phenomenon resides at the individual or group level. Education, for example, is a classic domain in which there exists hierarchically structured data, with the most obvious structure being students nested within classes that are nested within schools. Under hierarchical structures, it is hypothesised that individuals, and the group to which they belong, influence – and are influenced by – each other.

As Goldstein [2003, p2] notes: “to ignore this relationship risks overlooking the importance of group effects, and may also render invalid many of the traditional statistical analysis techniques used for studying data relationships”. In the 1980s, researchers began modelling approaches to hierarchically structured data. However, it was not until the 1990s that efficient software was developed to account for the hierarchical structure of data and research following from these software developments demonstrated the importance of treating data in this way. Today, multilevel modelling is routinely used in education and social research. Using recent examples of education research, this presentation describes multilevel modelling, provides guidance on when it should be used, and outlines the benefits of using this analytic approach.

Event details

Qualitative and quantitative research methods: multilevel modelling

Where Room 612, Education Building A35, Manning Rd, University of Sydney
Education Building A35
Click image for interactive map.


2 September 2015

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