Bennett Holman, Charles Lave Paper Prize Winner
- June 17, 2010
- Research Interest: Research methods in clinical psychology
Name: Bennett Holman
Hometown: Birmingham, Michigan (suburb of Detroit)
Education: logic & philosophy of science graduate student; received undergraduate degree from University of Michigan
Research Interest: research methods in clinical psychology
Bennett's award winning research paper is currently under consideration for publication and unavailable for reposting at this time.
Why UCI, and logic and philosophy of science in particular?
Quite simply it has one of, if not the best, philosophy of science programs in the nation. Philosophers here take science seriously. I am interested in foundational questions in philosophy that have practical consequences for the way that science is conducted and that type of work is encouraged here. I was pursuing a graduate degree in clinical psychology and I became interested in research methods in clinical psychology. I was looking for a way to incorporate clinical knowledge with rigorous scientific methodology. The desire to study scientific methodology led me here.
What type of research do you do?
Randomized clinical trials form the bed rock of the evaluation of medical treatment. The current statistical procedures used to evaluate the data are predicated on the actual trial functioning exactly as it was designed. My research is concerned with what happens in practice and what statistical procedures should be used, given what actually happens in clinical trials (e.g. patients in clinical trials can often determine which group they have been assigned to). I’m interested in determining the right standards to evaluate treatments. Right now I am looking at how these practices became established historically and figuring out the complicated relationship between governmental organizations (e.g. the FDA), private industry, clinical practice, and medical research. Then once I have a grasp of where we are, figuring where to go in order to improve medical practice.
Have you faced any challenges in your research pursuit and getting to where you are
Harvey Mandel, my adviser in my clinical psych program passed away at the beginning of my second year in the program. In that one day I lost an adviser, my employer, my mentor, a close friend and a great man. I was glad to have met him, but wish I had more time to learn from him. While he was alive he raised a lot of questions I didn't know how to answer or how even begin address. It changed the direction of my course of study and I'm still trying to find answers years later.
What implications does your research have for the general public?
If my findings were to be replicated, some drugs would be taken off the market. Essentially the standards of how we evaluate treatment would change. Some treatments might be judged to be less effective than previously thought or totally ineffective, others may be judged to be more effective.
What do you plan to do after finishing your doctoral degree?
I plan to pursue a career as a university and research professor.