She Answers Big Questions through Statistics

Nov 15, 2016

Dr. Erin Buchanan

You’ve survived a major catastrophe. While the world you know - including your home, familiar places and potentially your loved ones - have been washed away in this natural disaster, you remain. How do you cope? How do you look at the world? What actions do you take to get your shattered life back together? This ability to bounce back is your resiliency.

Dr. Erin Buchanan, associate professor of psychology at Missouri State University, collaborates with undergraduate and graduate students in her statistics lab as well as Dr. Stefan Schulenberg, director of the Clinical-Disaster Research Center at Ole Miss, on many projects regarding the meaning in life.

Buchanan’s role in research projects is to develop scales, test the scales to see if they measure what was intended, and to analyze the variance across demographics. By scales, Buchanan means questionnaires where you rate how you feel about the statement – something like 1 strongly disagree to 7 strongly agree. She explains.

The resiliency scales were found to be valid and effective, but analysis showed differences along racial divides. 

Though Buchanan is in psychology, she is a statistician in the field. She would like to encourage listeners to overcome their negative mindset about math, because it truly is a skill that is valuable in everyday life.

Read her full story.