COE doctoral student wins SERA Award

Peter Boedeker, an Educational Psychology doctoral student in UNT’s College of Education, recently won the Southwest Educational Research Association (SERA) Bruce Thompson Outstanding Paper Award. Boedeker’s degree plan focuses on research, measurement and statistics.

Boedeker researches the application of advanced statistical methods in education research, with a particular interest in meta-analysis.

“Meta-analysis is a method of consolidating quantitative findings across related studies in an effort to concisely summarize all of the results,” Boedeker said. “Within meta-analysis there are several different models for estimating the combined effect across studies. Two such models are fixed-effect and random-effects. The random-effects model is most applicable in educational research, and thus my paper focuses on this model. Just as with any model, there are options for how to estimate the parameters. The most common method is the DerSimonian and Laird Method and a less tested method is fully (hierarchical) Bayesian estimation. In the paper, I compare these two estimation techniques in the random-effects meta-analysis model. While the research itself is not focused on a particular education issue, it has implications for how to conduct meta-analysis in education research.”

His award will be presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference, of which SERA is a regional association.

“Presenting at the national conference is an opportunity to share my findings to a broader audience and converse with experts in various fields of education research,” Boedeker said. “These opportunities are critical in my development as a scholar, and I look forward to taking full advantage of them.”

Boedeker describes the submission process as more of a review than a nomination. He said individuals interested in competing for the award submit a paper to the SERA executive director during the SERA conference. Any member of SERA, including graduate students and university faculty, is eligible to compete. After all papers are reviewed, one paper is selected for the award.

“Developing the idea for the paper and then writing took several months as revision after revision iteratively improved the manuscript,” Boedeker said. “The process was fraught with challenges, but my diligence to communicate effectively the work I had done was rewarded.”

Boedeker will present his paper and discuss his work to other attendees in a special session at the 2017 AERA conference.