Dr. Laura Nathans' article (with Dr. Frederick Oswald, Rice University and Dr. Kim Nimon, University of North Texas), "Interpreting Multiple Linear Regression: A Guidebook of Variable Importance," published in leading educational research journal Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation in April 2012, has become highly influential in the field of statistics.
Since being posted online, it has become the most highly viewed article in the world on explaining multiple regression for over a year.
The article has been accessed 70,000 times through the journal and has been cited 117 times. It has been cited on all six continents and across multiple fields of study, including biology, nursing, environmental science, mathematics, psychology, electrical engineering and business.
The article explains in detail how to use several multiple regression techniques to analyze data, and presents an example of how to write these techniques up in an integrated fashion. Dr. Nathans was inspired to write the article because of her awareness of the limited accessibility of basic statistical techniques to applied researchers and students.
She explained that many statistical articles are written with advanced statistical language that limits conceptual and practical understanding of how to apply the techniques to real-world research issues.
As an applied researcher who studies effectiveness of home visiting programs in teaching parenting techniques to underprivileged parents, Dr. Nathans is aware of the need for researchers to probe their findings in more depth. The methods detailed in her article will enable applied researchers across multiple fields to discover information that could more effectively improve interventions and quality of life for children and adults.
Dr. Nathans became interested in home visiting research after working for several years as a home-based counselor with low-income adults and families, during which she learned about the struggles and challenges faced by those most in need in our society. She pursued a Ph.D. under international parent education expert Dr. Arminta Jacobson at the University of North Texas in order to learn how to conduct research that could have a broad impact on the families she had worked with as a counselor.
Dr. Nathans now publishes evaluations of the home visiting programs Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters and Early Head Start.