Research in focus: Bruno D. Zumbo
Learn more about the work of our researchers at UBC
19 June, 2023
Bruno D. Zumbo
Professor & Distinguished University Scholar, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Psychometrics and Measurement
Measurement, Evaluation, & Research Methodology Program / Dept. of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education, Faculty of Education
Year I started working at UBC:
Provide an overview of your research in 75 words or less:
Social scientists use self-report surveys and tests in research and evaluation for ranking, feedback, decision-making, and investigating the efficacy of interventions or policy purposes. With the support of funding from SSHRC, I am refining my item-responding framework and explanation-centred theory of measurement validity and developing statistical methods that leverage advances in multivariate analysis, Bayesian methods, and computational technology. This research aims to have survey and test designers embrace the many ways of being human.
What first motivated you (or motivates you) to conduct your research?
I am motivated by questions of how effectively surveys, tests, and questionnaires travel across place and time and how they are received in diverse cultural and linguistic settings that are radically different from those in which they were produced.
What do you hope will change as a result of this research?
The scale and ambition of contemporary survey and testing programs with, in some cases, multiple countries, diverse cultural settings and languages raise many well-known challenges to the statistical science of measurement. My work aims to help researchers and policymakers construct statistical narratives, and stories, that are meaningful and genuine, reflecting local, national, and global settings while impacting the daily lives of educators, policy analysts, and researchers.
What have you learned during your research that has surprised you the most?
Twenty-first-century survey questionnaires, tests, and assessments are the products of nearly 200 years of critical developments in fields as diverse as the mathematical sciences, statistical and computation sciences, education, psychology, and philosophy of science. However, although I have studied and worked at the intersection of several of these disciplines, I continue to be surprised at how challenging it can be to move this work beyond disciplinary boundaries.
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