The Loyola Experience (1993-2009): Optimal Data Analysis in the Department of Psychology
Fred B. Bryant, Ph.D.
Loyola University Chicago
This article traces the origins and development of the use of optimal data analysis (ODA) within the Department of Psychology at Loyola University Chicago over the past 17 years. An initial set of ODA-based articles by Loyola faculty laid the groundwork for a sustained upsurge in the use of ODA among graduate students which has lasted for more than a decade and a half. These student projects subsequently fueled an increase in ODA-based publications by other Loyola Psychology faculty, who directly supervised the various student projects. Thus, ODA initially trickled down from faculty to students, but later grew up in the opposite direction. The most frequent use of ODA in Loyola’s Psychology Department has been to conduct classification tree analysis, with less common uses of ODA including optimal discriminant analysis and the iterative structural decomposition of transition tables. As more Loyola Psychology graduate students find academic jobs and continue using ODA in their research, we expect that they will replicate the Loyola experience in these new academic settings.