Dr. Mara researches improved methods for measuring and analyzing psychological data in quantitative methods. Her research has focused on developing and investigating improved procedures for analyzing behavioral data. For example, she has studied equivalence testing methods that have recently become popular in psychology for investigating when groups/conditions are equivalent, or when a lack of association between variables exists. Dr. Mara has also investigated novel structural equation models for investigating change in randomized longitudinal studies, and applications of item response theory.
Dr. Mara’s research in the area of pediatric patient-reported outcomes has centered on the measurement and psychometric properties of patient-reported outcomes in a pediatric healthcare setting. In particular, she uses item-response theory (IRT) and factor analysis to examine the psychometric properties of patient-reported outcomes. It is critical that the measures we use are reliable, valid, sensitive, and responsive. Applying contemporary measurement science to assess the measures used as outcomes in research is critical to reducing error and improving the accuracy and replicability of our research findings.