February 11, 2008

Michigan Study of Life Transitions

In January 2008, each student in FSoS 5014, Introduction to Quantitative Family Research Methods, was asked to summarize and evaluate information about a secondary data set used in the family field. The following summary was prepared by Katie Brewton.

Study purpose
• The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of changes in classroom and family environments on adolescents' achievement-related beliefs, motives, values, and behaviors.

Principal investigator
• Jacquelynne S. Eccles

Years during which data were collected
• 1983 – 1985

Number of waves of data, and ages of participants at each wave
• Four waves of data were collected. The mean age of students at wave 1 was 11 years, 5 months.

• Wave I – 3,246 adolescents and their parents
• Wave II – 3,157 adolescents (97.2% of the original sample), their parents and teachers. This sample was augmented slightly as the study progressed due to attrition rates; 105 new students participated.
• Wave III – 2,705 adolescents (83.3% of the original sample) and their parents. Three-hundred and eighty-eight new students who moved into the 12 school districts during the course of the study joined.
• Wave IV – Seventy-percent of the original adolescent sample and their parents
Types of data
• Questionnaires and behavioral observations

Strengths and weaknesses of the data set:
• The sample of students was homogeneous. Ninety-seven percent of the students were Caucasian and their schools were located in middle-income communities.

• The data would be useful to family researchers
• Data were collected from children, parents and teachers using questionnaires and behavior observations

Accessibility of data to the research community
• The data can be downloaded at: http://www.murray.harvard.edu/

Usefulness of data set to family researchers
• The data would be useful to family researchers interested in studying adolescents’ transitions from elementary to junior high school.

Web site information
• On the web site (http://www.rcgd.isr.umich.edu/msalt/home.htm) there is information regarding questionnaires, scales, and data; a list of articles and publications that have resulted from the study; a detailed explanation of the study for past participants; a form for past participants to submit new contact information if they are moving; and a list of family, education, and career web resources.

Gain access to the data
• Data can be acquired through Harvard-Radcliffe's Murray Research Center at: http://www.murray.harvard.edu/

Posted by hgroteva at February 11, 2008 7:04 PM