Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Good research, low costs Research into the best design for a study with a nested data structure

05.06.2008
Dutch researcher Mirjam Moerbeek used a Veni grant to investigate how best to design a study with nested data at a reasonable cost. An examples includes an intervention study aimed at reversing unhealthy lifestyles in young people. The question is how many schools and how many pupils per school should take part.

In the design phase of an intervention study, the first issue to be decided is how to assign people to different experimental groups. There are two groups in studies such as the model example above: the intervention group and the control group. One option is to assign whole schools to a particular group, so that all pupils from the same school experience the same conditions. Another option is to assign the pupils from each school to different groups so that each group is represented at each school.

The sample size needs to be determined in the next phase. This should be designed in such a fashion that any difference between the groups has the greatest possible chance of being identified. In the model, the question is whether many schools should be included and a small sample taken from each, or just a few schools with a large sample taken from each. From Moerbeek’s research it can be concluded that a trial using many small schools is preferable, if the costs at school level are relatively low and the degree of mutual influence between pupils within the same school is high.

This research was conducted because a few years ago little was known about the number of people in trials using nested data. Using too few people usually means that the effect of an intervention cannot be demonstrated on the basis of statistical data analyses, whereas the inclusion of too many people means unnecessarily high costs. The results of this research will contribute to the improved design of trials using nested data, which will enable trials to produce good results against reasonable costs.

Nested populations
In the social sciences, experiments are often carried out in nested populations. A nested population means that people are nested in groups. It can also mean that repeated tests are carried out among people. The example of an intervention to prevent or reverse unhealthy lifestyles in young people is often carried out in schools. Here, the phrase “nested data structure” is used: the pupils are nested within schools. The results from nested data depend on the interaction between people within the same group. In the abovementioned example, results such as the smoking and drinking behaviour of pupils at the same school depend on mutual influence and communication, the school rules and the behaviour of teachers.

David Redeker | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nwo.nl/nwohome.nsf/pages/NWOA_7EVDMX_Eng

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>