The ZPID twin conference on the topics „Big Data in Psychology“ and „Research Synthesis“ offered the opportunity to inform oneself about various fields of application, to learn about innovation and to establish new contacts. Six days were filled with keynotes, sessions and workshops. More than 150 participants attended, the renowned keynote speakers arrived from all over the world – from China, Europe and the United States.
It was a conference that revealed a lot of new insights. Mike Cheung, Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore, stated in his keynote „Testing Model-Driven Hypotheses with Big Data“ that psychologists are currently not the key players in the Big Data movement. But their strength lies in psychological theories and advanced multivariate techniques.
Steffi Pohl concurs. She is Junior Professor of Methods and Evaluation/Quality Assurance at Freie Universität Berlin and attended the conference: „I think it is important that psychology takes a stand on the subject of big data and brings in its theoretical strength. The conference promoted, bundled and made this visible. The internationally renowned speakers invited were impressive. The concept of the conference was also very successful in giving a lot of opportunity for exchange with the speakers and among the participants.“
The back-to-back conference format was especially appropriate for the two topics of big data and research synthesis, says Fred Oswald, Professor at Rice University, USA, and one of the conferences‘ keynote speakers: „Big data are increasingly available ‚within‘ studies, offering new research questions and calling for analytic methods that are new to the social sciences. Yet also, the exponential increase in research findings ‚across‘ studies, accelerated by the open science movement, has itself become a big data challenge that, out of necessarily, advances the development of modern tools for research synthesis.“
There was a large diversity of topics. „Predicting whether consumers are going to leave their energy supplier“, „Political Ideology and Affective Attitudes Towards Mobility Innovation“ or „The relationship between well-being and physical activity: A meta analysis“ are just three examples. Some liked the variety, others have suggestions for improvement such as Pia Tio, PhD Candidate at Tilburg University and University of Amsterdam: „I wonder whether the conference could be improved by having parallel sessions.“
It will be continued next year. Then, the Big Data and Research Synthesis Conference will take place in Dubrovnik, Croatia, May 29-31, 2019. Mike Cheung recommends to be there: „I enjoyed very much the back-to-back conferences on Big Data in Psychology 2018 and Research Synthesis 2018. I strongly encourage anyone interested in these topics to participate the conferences next year.“
Presentation slides for both conferences are available via PsychArchives, ZPID’s discipline-specific psychology repository.
Big Data in Psychology: https://bit.ly/2HPT7vd
Research Synthesis: https://bit.ly/2l9emis
The Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information (ZPID) is the supra-regional scientific research support organization for psychology in German-speaking countries. It supports the entire scientific work process from gathering ideas and researching literature to documenting research, archiving data and publishing the results, based on an ideal-type research cycle. It is committed to the idea of open science and sees itself as a public open science institute for psychology. ZPID is part of Leibniz Association which connects 93 independent research institutions.