RMME/STAT Joint Colloquium
thinkCausal: One Stop Shopping for Answering your Causal Inference Questions
Dr. Jennifer Hill
New York University
Friday, April 30th, at 12:00PM ET
Causal inference is a necessary tool in education research for answering pressing and ever-evolving questions around policy and practice. Increasingly, researchers are using more complicated machine learning algorithms to estimate causal effects. These methods take some of the guesswork out of analyses, decrease the opportunity for “p-hacking,” and are often better suited for more fine-tuned causal inference tasks such as identifying varying treatment effects and generalizing results from one population to another. However, these more sophisticated methods are more difficult to understand and are often only accessible in more technical, less user-friendly software packages. The thinkCausal project is working to address these challenges (and more) by developing a highly scaffolded multi-purpose causal inference software package with the BART predictive algorithm as a foundation. The software will scaffold the researcher through the data analytic process and provide options to access technology-based teaching tools to understand foundational concepts in causal inference and machine learning. This talk will briefly review BART for causal inference and then discuss the challenges and opportunities in building this type of tool. This is work in progress and the goal is to create a conversation about the tool and role of education in data analysis software more broadly.