The application of spatial data and methods to demographic research has been identified as a critical methodological challenge facing population scientists today. Although the instructional environment for introductory GIS courses has improved, the application and use of advanced spatial analysis methods in population science lags behind. Thus, the next generation of population scientists may not be adequately prepared to take advantage of the recent methodological developments and new software products in spatial statistical analysis. This R25 training grant application has two aims.
Aim 1 : To move beyond basic GIS training and set the highest standards for spatial analysis instruction in the population sciences by offering a series of advanced spatial analysis workshops on cutting-edge techniques. The four proposed workshops are: spatial regression modeling;geographically weighted regression;spatial/multi-level modeling;and spatial pattern analysis. The target audience for these advanced workshops is early-career population scientists (i.e., graduate students and junior researchers in demography-related disciplines) based at research institutions and population-related agencies in the U.S. We will offer each workshop twice (subject to a review), reaching as many as 200 attendees.
Aim 2 : To supplement the workshop series with parallel development of resource materials on the four selected and other advanced spatial analysis methods;resource materials that will be made publicly available via an existing GIS and Population Science (GISPopSci) website. The current website will be enhanced with new learning materials, reference lists, and other advanced spatial analysis resources. In addition, the website will include options that allow any member of the population science community to register their own spatial demography-related projects and materials. We intend for the website to be developed for and to serve the wider population science field. Throughout the grant period we will be evaluating the impact of the workshops on all attendees. There will be an exit survey, a one year follow-up, and a later follow-up survey in Year 5 (for Year 1-3 attendees). We believe these workshops will facilitate the further development of spatially-informed demography, and will have trained 200 early-career scholars. This application is submitted in response to PA-06-507 on "Educational Programs for Population Research." Existing opportunities and resources to learn advanced spatial analysis methods in the university sector, the commercial sector, and from textbooks, are limited, costly, and frequently not targeted towards population science research questions and applications. The proposed training program is unique, offers workshops targeted at early-career population scientists, and will develop web resources for the field at large. While the program is designed for population scientists it is inevitable that researchers in closely allied fields such as public health and epidemiology stand to gain from the proposed training program. Indeed, participants from public health, epidemiology, health sciences, and health planning accounted for 22 percent of the researchers who attended our previous R25 training program on GIS and Population Sciences (see Appendix E).
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