COMPASS seminars 2011

2011 seminars

Koray Atalag

Koray Atalag

What if we really had a silver bullet to deal with health information?

Dr Koray Atalag, Clinton Bedogni Research Fellow, University of Auckland
Thursday December 1st

In this talk I will touch on some hard problems in health informatics around working with structured data and why we can’t link and reuse them with ease. The essence of the problem is that, while clinicians can perfectly understand each other, IT systems can’t. Traditional IT requires formally defined common terminology, meta-data, data and process definitions. While Medicine is mostly accepted as positive science, yet the great variation in the body of knowledge and practice is often seen as ‘Art’. Ignoring this bit, IT people tend to develop all-inclusive common information models (almost always too complex to implement) and expect everybody adhere to that. Clinicians love to do things a bit differently and of course don’t buy into that! Maybe they are right! Maybe we don’t have to agree on a uniform model at all. This is the basic assumption of the openEHR methodology which I will describe by giving clinical examples. The main premise of this approach is to effectively separate tasks of healthcare and technical professionals.

Clinicians can easily define their information needs as they like using visual tools – called Archetypes which are essentially maximal data sets. These computable artefacts, built using a well-defined set of technical building blocks, are then fed into the technical environment to integrate data or develop software. Lastly the free web based openEHR Clinical Knowledge Manager portal provides collaborative Archetype development and ensures semantic consistency and interoperability among different models.

Lastly we’ll look at how to aggregate data by using openEHR as a ‘canonical’ representation to align health information from disparate sources. Surely this is not the silver bullet for now – but definitely a promising approach!

A course on Longitudinal data analysis: what did we learn?

Roy Lay-Yee, Martin von Randow, Janet Pearson, Jessica Thomas, Karl Parker

COMPASS staff will be reporting back on methods used for the analysis of longitudinal data covered by the course and drawing lessons for their work. The statistical techniques include random and fixed effects models, and event history analysis. This course was run by the NZ Social Statistics Network’s Summer Programme in February 2011, and was taught by Dr Gary Marks from the University of Melbourne.

Underpinning Transparency in Research: Implementing a Template for a Research Repository

Alex Marks

The archiving and public availability of survey data sets and associated metadata is essential for increasing the transparency of research and facilitating reproduction of materials. The aim of this summer project was to add value to the New Zealand Social Science Data Service through the implementation of a template and integration of essential materials into the website. There were four different sub-projects involved:

  1. Integration of metadata for various Enhanced Publications;
  2. Development and integration of an SPSS teaching workbook;
  3. Beginnings of an ‘observatory’ for social science research through integration of SAS code used for filtering in the ‘Hospital Restructuring’ project;
  4. Investigation into the Dataverse Network Project.

The integration of these materials will provide a new level of accessibility for users wishing to understand our research, as well as promoting the use of NZSSDS as a teaching resource. It is hoped that integration of materials into the NZSSDS website will continue as new research and materials become available that would be beneficial in a public environment.

Modelling health-related behaviour

Professor Graham Moon, University of Southampton
29 July 2011

New Zealand Society: Portraits of Class, Environmentalism and Gender Roles


3 August 2011

In August a joint Department of Sociology / COMPASS seminar was held at which four students from the SOCIOL 701 class of 2011 presented portraits of New Zealand society based on their analysis of data from the International Social Survey Programme held on the New Zealand Social Science Data service.

Copies of the presentations are available below.

Dr Lawrence Powell

Multidimensional Scaling: Euclidean distance models for exploring the complex structure of subjective perception, worldviews, and shared meaning

Dr Lawrence Powell

Multidimensional scaling offers a powerful 'pattern recognition' tool for the exploration and visualisation of structured patterns within complex numeric and textual observations, particularly those relating to human cognition, perception and contextualised 'meaning'. This seminar briefly outlines the statistical basis, advantages/disadvantages, and available computer programmes for conducting MDS and perceptual mapping techniques. Examples are given of useful applications in clinical and cross-cultural psychology, linguistics, political science, sociology, anthropology, consumer marketing.

Lawrence Powell (PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has taught social methodology courses at University of the West Indies, Purdue University, University of Texas, and University of Auckland (Sociology). In Jamaica he served as national polling director for the Centre for Leadership and Governance, and the LAPOP surveys (Latin American Public Opinion Project). Recent publications include Political Culture of Democracy in Jamaica: Democratic Consolidation in the Americas in Hard Times (2011), and Probing Jamaica's Political Culture (2007). He is also author of the WordProx programme for multidimensional scaling and visual mapping of word proximities in written text.

Relationships between Objective ad Subjective Indicators in the GSS 2008, Charles Crothers, Professor of Sociology, AUT

Unit records from the SNZ 2008 GSS survey are used to investigate three aspects of the conceptualisations underlying social indicator analyses, which more usually rely rather more on 'official data'. Often SI exercises are organised to tap several 'social domains' and endeavour to include both objective and subjective indicators within each domain. To explore this framework this analysis investigates:

  • the links between objective and subjective indicators in each domain
  • the extent to which experiences in domains cohere and empirically overlap with other domains
  • the social background correlates of social indicators.

The Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) after fifteen years: three modules going on four, what progress?

Jack Vowles 14 December 2011

The Comparative Study of Electoral Systems is a major international collaboration in the field of elections, representation, and electoral systems. Involving scholars from over forty countries, it is organizationally based in the United States at the University of Michigan, and in Germany, at the GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. The project produces a publicly-available cross-national dataset every five years, containing country-level institutional and contextual variables as well as individual-level survey responses. Its findings so far confirm some expectations about the effects of electoral systems on individual behaviour and collective outcomes, but throw at least as many more into question. This paper reviews the modules completed so far, and provides an introduction to module 4, currently in the field in New Zealand in the form of questions in the 2011 New Zealand Election Study (NZES).

Jack Vowles is Professor of Political Science at the University of Exeter and Honorary Research Fellow in Political Studies at the University of Auckland. He has been involved as a collaborator in the CSES since its formation and has been a member of the CSES Planning Committee since 2002, helping to develop and overseeing modules 3 and 4. For Module 4, he led a Working Party that coordinated the development of Module 4’s main theme, ‘Distributional Politics and Social Protection’.

(251.3 kB, PDF)