South Africa Stats Camp Analysis Retreat

Comprehensive Structural Equation Modeling Statistics Seminar
Comprehensive Structural Equation Modeling Statistics Seminar
Comprehensive Structural Equation Modeling Statistics Seminar

A comprehensive 4-day Stats Camp Analysis Retreat:

Analytical competence is of great importance to conduct social and psychological research. The Optentia Research Focus Area, in collaboration with two international experts on statistical analysis (Prof. Todd D Little and Prof. Rens van de Schoot), will present a Stats Camp in South Africa. Stats Camp is an internationally recognized award-winning educational event focused on advanced statistical training at a graduate and postgraduate level.

This unique Stats Camp Analysis Retreat brings experts across a wide range of statistical and methodological disciplines together in one place, for the purpose of helping you tackle any issues you are facing with your personal research project. Our instructors and teaching assistants form a collaborative network to help guide you through your research process, and we encourage you to take advantage of this unique opportunity to work with our team to bring your research to the next level.

Stats Camp analysis retreats are highly relevant to current trends and practices in modern advanced statistical analysis. They enable researchers to get practical “hands-on” instruction that delivers practical value. Each year, full week-long Stats Camps and Mini Camps are held in locations throughout the world.

The goal of the Stats Camp is to help participants to run their models in Mplus or R (lavaan, blavaan, stan) and maybe even to finalize their results section.

About the Analysis Retreat:

We ask the participants to bring their own data and they should be interested in analysing SEM models. The goal of the week is to help them to run their models in Mplus or R (lavaan, blavaan, stan) and maybe even to finalize their results section. The workshop will focus on hand-on training in statistical software.

Travel Arrangements

Mongena Private Game Lodge, Dinokeng Game Reserve is 98 km from the O.R. Tambo Airport (travel time 1 h 10 min). Participants should arrange their own transport to the Stats Camp venue. Optentia has arranged with Mr Etienne Snyman of Cross-Country Coaches to provide transport from the O.R. Tambo International Airport to Mongena Lodge. Please contact Zack Stickley (email us) for more information.

Statistics Training Retreat in South Africa

University Camp: 2021 May 14 – 20
(arrive afternoon of 14th, class begins morning of the 15th)

Hammanskraal, Gauteng Province, South Africa
Mongena Lodge – Dinokeng Game Reserve 

FAQ –  Hotel Reservations Form (PDF)  –  Mongena Room Details (PDF)

Driving Directions (PDF) –  Area Map (PDF)  

2021 May 14 at 1:30 PM with a welcome and overview, followed by keynote lecture by Dr. Todd Little.
(5/14 and 5/20 will be half days).

The Stats Camp will take place at Mongena Lodge. Please book your accommodation and do the payment as soon as possible. The cost of accommodation if not included in the fee for the Stats Camp.

10 KM on Rust De Winter Road D48
Dinokeng Game Reserve
Hammanskraal, Gauteng Province
South Africa

Please contact Zack Stickley (email us) for more information about registration and the costs of the Stats Camp, accommodation at Mongena Lodge during the event and transport from the Johannesburg International Airport.

The course fee does not include breakfast, lunch, dinner or refreshments normally provided during workshops. Most participants obtain the conference package from Mongena Lodge including accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner in some cases. Please contact Mongena Lodge to purchase the conference package. The course fee covers the cost of the presentations over the four days of the event. Contact Lynn Booysen listed above if you need more information. We look forward to seeing you at Stats Camp.

Payment Options

R40383 Faculty/Professional and Student/Post-Doc
(Please note that travel is not included in this fee.)

All-inclusive package includes: (4) nights shared lodge cabin bed (only 2 persons per cabin, with two twin beds in each cabin), (1) game drive per day, and all meals as well as drinks.  NOTE: Additional nights can be added at the beginning of the camp but no rooms are available the following weekend due to another scheduled event. Additional nights are at the campers expense but we will assist in adding the nights to the master rooming list. Please email us if you plan to extend your stay additional nights before the training event.


Seating is limited. Please register early. Sell out risk is high due to small class size with Analysis Retreats.

Details Per Course Select Option
All-Inclusive Registrationshow details + $2,750 (USD)  

Analysis retreat fee includes all materials, downloads, software access, training, refreshments and access to a recorded video of analysis retreat:

Enrollment is open to students, faculty and professionals. Save a seat today, pay later.

Your all-inclusive registration includes lodging, most transportation, meals and drinks, hands-on training, materials, downloads, software access, and access to recorded video from the analysis retreat training analysis retreat.

Overview: The serenity of being in a South African wildlife preserve with the intensity of a 5-day retreat to propel your research project to completion. This Stats Camp Analysis Retreat offers you the unique opportunity to work with our Stats Camp staff to develop a fully vetted action plan for your current research passion – it’s 4 days of personalized consultation, problem solving, plan development, analysis, results, and implications. Unlike workshops where you are taught a curriculum, this unique retreat is guided by you, the participant – your needs, your passions, your questions, your data, your analysis conundrum. This  retreat offers you the unique opportunity to work with our Stats Camp staff to develop a fully vetted action plan for your research.

A Stats Camp Analysis Retreat offers you an unparalleled opportunity to work one-on-one with an international team of experts in quantitative methods to answer your research questions, troubleshoot your challenges, and vet your plan.

Todd D. Little, Ph.D. developed Stats Camps Analysis Retreats to address the need for specialized expertise that is often needed to move complex research projects to approval and funding. Dr. Little is a preeminent award-earning scholar who has published over 300 peer-reviewed works that have garnered 36,000+ citations.

Members of the Stats Camp team are highly experienced and many have decades of experience in resolving complex analytical challenges with an understanding of best-practices procedures. You will have exclusive access to their expertise as they guide you to a final publication-ready product.

Expert consulting at this level can quickly run into the tens of thousands of dollars. By bringing our team together with you at an exclusive and personalized Stats Camp Analysis Retreat, we can offer this unprecedented access at a much more affordable price.

In addition to personalized consulting, each Retreat participant receives full access to Stats Camp’s Statistical Modeling On Remote Servers (SMORS) system. Your access includes a complete suite of state-of-the-art statistical modeling software and experts who know how to use it:

  • Mplus
  • StatTransfer
  • R (including Simsem, Sem Tools, (B)Laavan, Rstan, & Rjags)

What is an Analysis Retreat?

Stats Camp Analysis Retreats offer you an unparalleled opportunity to work one-on-one with our team of dedicated experts in quantitative methods. Joined by a well-rounded team of professionals in quantitative methods, each analysis retreat is led by Todd D. Little, a preeminent and award-earning scholar who has published over 300 peer-reviewed works that have garnered over 36000 citations!

With decades of experience in the craft of using advanced quantitative methods to resolve the most complex of analysis challenges, our team will review all aspects of your research project and guide you at each step along the way to a final publication-ready product. Such in-depth and personalized consulting would normally cost 10s of 1000s of dollars! By bringing our team together with you in an intimate, intensive, and free-from-distraction environment, we offer you the unprecedented opportunity to vet your plan, trouble shoot your challenges, and unequivocally answer your research questions. Your results and findings will incorporate best-practice procedures that are implemented with the wisdom of the experience and expertise that our team provides. By utilizing our SMORS system, you will have access to the latest versions of the software you’ll need and receive guidance from our team members who are highly skilled in using the software.

The experience you gain from this rich opportunity will carry over into your future research endeavors because the lessons you will learn aren’t found in courses or seminars. The knowledge you’ll gain has far greater practical utility because it is tailored to you and your program of research. These Analysis Retreats provide you with connections that will play out over the course of a lifelong career.

Who should attend?

If you are in the pre-data collection phase, Stats Camp staff will engage with you develop a testable research hypothesis, a fully articulated analysis plan, and ensure full understanding of the analysis model, the nature of its results, and their implications.

If you are a participant who already has data, you will have the opportunity to learn the software syntax needed to analyze your data, interpret the output and understand the implications of your findings.

Breakout sessions will cover a vast array of techniques and topics. Some topics are predetermined while others will be prepared specifically to meet your needs and the needs of the other participants (a survey will be given prior to the event to develop this need list of topics to cover).

What to expect from the experience.

Participants in our first annual Stats Camp Analysis Retreat were overwhelming positive about the individualized learning that took place as well as the opportunity to work with their own data – a practical aspect that makes learning easier. Because participants are enabled to ask questions and get immediate feedback, learning the practical analytic skills is facilitated. Also, participants learned about different topics tailored to their learning needs. As seen in the daily schedule, much time is provided to network and socialise, enabling participants to also learn from each other.

Participants uniformly exclaimed that the learning activities contributed to publishing more articles and increasing the quality of their research, which has allowed them to target higher impact factor journals. Because quantitative methods are a critical gap in most fields, the Stats Camp experience helped clarify the essential importance of quantitative methods. By learning the basics of applying these methods, the knowledge is thereby carried over to other colleagues and students, and ultimately helping to close the gap.

The Stats Camp Retreat is a perfect combination of learning in a friendly environment, networking in a collegial and social context, enjoying good food, and experience nature by way the twice daily photo safaris. Having the camp stats in a retreat format, gave participants time and motivation to focus on their research.


Saturday 2021 May 15

13:30  – Welcome and overview program

14:30  – Key-note lecture 1 (Todd Little & Rens van de Schoot)

17:00  – Evening Safari

19:00  – Bush braai

Day 1 (Sunday 2021 May 16)

Morning Safari

We start with a short lecture on regression versus SEM modeling, when to use which method, and explain the break-out sessions.

Morning break-out sessions in two groups based on whether there is a clear analysis plan. Group 1: already working on analysis. Group 2: no data yet. For both groups, the goal is to answer questions like:

  • What exactly is your research question?
  • What are your hypotheses?
  • Are your analyses exploratory or confirmatory?
  • What variables do you have and what is their measurement level?
  • Make a drawing of your model (observed/latent).

Morning breaks will be from 10:00 – 10:50.

Lunch will be from 12:30 – 13:30.

Afternoon break-out sessions with mini-lectures (conversations) on statistical models:

  • Basic multivariate statistics (T-test, anova, etc.)
  • Basic SEM-CFA
  • Multilevel analyses
  • Longitudinal analyses
  • Bayesian analyses

During the day, we will also have individual/group consultation appointments to answer specific questions from participants.

Afternoon breaks will be from 15:00 – 15:15.

Sessions will end at 16:30.

Evening Safari at 17:00.

Cocktail consultations and social networking

Day 2 (Monday 2021 May 17)

Morning Safari

General meeting to explain break-out sessions (15 mins)

Morning break-out sessions introducing software:

  • Intro lecture Mplus with simple regression and CFA
  • Intro lecture R + Rstudio, how to upload data, run simple regression using lm function
  • Advanced Mplus with LGM, LCA, LGMM
  • Advanced R with CFA and LGM in lavaan

10:00 – 10:50: Morning Break.

12:00 – 12:30: General meeting discussing results.

12:30 – 13:30: Lunch

Afternoon break-out sessions working on your own data (or work on exercises if you do not have data yet) based on level of experience

  • Basic Mplus
  • Basic R
  • Advanced Mplus or R
  • Participant nominated topics

We will also have individual/small group consultation appointments

15:00 – 15:15: Afternoon Break

16:30: Sessions end.

17:00: Evening Safari

Cocktail consultations and social networking

Day 3 (Tuesday 2021 May 18)

General meeting to explain break-out sessions (15 mins)

Morning break-out sessions based on level of experience

  • Basic Mplus
  • Basic R
  • Advanced Mplus or R
  • Participant nominated topics
  • Individual/small group consultation appointments

10:00 – 10:50: Morning break.

12:00 – 12:30: General meeting discussing results.

12:30 – 13:30: Lunch

13:30 – 14:45: Key-note lecture 2 (Todd Little & Rens van de Schoot)

17:00: Safari

Cocktail consultations and social networking

Day 4 (Wednesday 2021 May 19)

Continue to work on own data and get individual feedback on taking the next steps.

11:00 – 11:30: Closing meeting

11:30: Retreat ends.

Instructor: Todd D. Little Ph.D.

Todd D. Little, PhD is a Professor at Texas Tech University. He is widely recognized for his quantitative work on various aspects of applied SEM (e.g., modern missing data treatments, indicator selection, parceling, modeling developmental processes) as well as his substantive developmental research (e.g., action-control processes and motivation, coping, and self-regulation). His work has garnered over 35,230 citations with an h-index of 89 and an i10-index of 212. In 2001, he was elected to membership in the Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology, and in 2009, he was elected President of APA’s Division 5 (Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics). He is a fellow in APA, APS, and AAAS. In 2013, he received the Cohen award from Division 5 of APA for distinguished contributions to teaching and mentoring and in 2015 he received the inaugural distinguished contributions award for mentoring developmental scientists from the Society for Research in Child Development. Both awards cited his founding of Stats Camp ( in 2003 and its ongoing impact on shaping the quality of scientific inquiry for both past and future generations of researchers. Download CV (PDF)

Instructor: Ian Rothmann Ph.D.

Ian is a professor in Industrial/Organisational Psychology at the North-West University (Vanderbijlpark Campus). His research journey started with the topics of stress, burnout and work engagement and has evolved towards prospering and flourishing of people in work and organisational contexts. People who prosper in work and organisational contexts are satisfied with their jobs, experience positive emotions, are energetic, learning and dedicated, experience satisfaction of their autonomy, competence and relatedness needs, find meaning and purpose in their work, experience harmony and relate positively.

He researches the prospering of people at work, the antecedents and outcomes thereof, and intervention programmes that could contribute to prospering of individuals and organisations.

Instructor: Rens van de Schoot Ph.D.

Rens van de Schoot, Ph.D., is professor in Methods and Statistics at Utrecht University, the Netherlands and extra-ordinary professor at North-West University in South Africa. He teaches many Bayesian and Mplus courses all around the world. Areas of expertise include: multivariate analyses (regression, t-test, manova, etc.), multilevel analysis, structural equation modeling (e.g. CFA, LGM, and mediation), mixture modeling (e.g. LCA, LGMM, LCGA, and LTA) and machine learning. Areas of expertise exclude: time series, causal modeling (e.g., DAGs), network analyses and related techniques.

Instructor: Elizabeth Grandfield, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Grandfield received her Ph.D. in Quantitative Psychology at the University of Kansas. Her research focuses on evaluating measurement invariance with an emphasis in longitudinal designs. In areas of applied research, Elizabeth has been involved in longitudinal children studies at Juniper Gardens as well as a national nursing study at Kansas University Medical Center, both in Kansas City. She also received the 2011 Multivariate Software Award, presented by Peter Bentler and Eric Wu. Elizabeth has been involved in Stats Camp since 2012.  

Instructor: Mwarumba Mwavita Ph.D.

Dr. Mwarumba Mwavita is an Associate Professor in the Research, Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics (REMS) and Founding Director of the Center for Educational Research and Evaluation (CERE) at Oklahoma State University. He teaches  graduate courses in Multiple Regression, Multivariate,  Mediation and Moderation , Multilevel and Program Evaluation and Cost Benefit analysis. His research focus is in the application of GLM methods in investigating  education policy, equity, and access in addition to STEM education. As the director CERE he plans and conduct program evaluation for funded projects.

Teaching Assistant: Duco Veen Ph.D. Candidate

Duco Veen is a PhD Candidate at Utrecht University at the Department of Methods and Statistics. He conducts research on Bayesian statistical solutions to small data problems in structural equation models. The main focus is on prior specification, including expert knowledge in statistical models and measuring discrepancy between expert knowledge and data. Further research includes Randomized Response survey methodology for conducting research into sensitive topics. He has contributed to multiple R-packages and online web applications to support understanding of statistical methods.

Teaching Assistant: Omolola Odejimi

Omolola A. Odejimi is a PhD student at Texas Tech University in the Research, Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics program. She is currently a research assistant at the Institute for Measurement, Methodology, Analysis and Policy at TTU. Her main methodological foci are longitudinal structural equation modeling and multilevel modeling with substantive interests in learning and developmental theories. Further research interests include intervention evaluation, simulation studies and Bayesian analysis. She received a B.Sc. in Psychology and Women & Gender Studies from Portland State University.

Teaching Assistant: Zachary Stickley

Zachary is currently a Ph.D. Student in the Educational Psychology: Research Methods, Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics (REMS) program. He received his Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology from Tarleton State University and has participated in a two-year research internship at the VISN 17 Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans located at the Doris Miller VA Medical Center in Waco, Texas. His current research interests include latent variable modeling, survey design including planned missing data designs, and modern missing data treatments.

Teaching Assistant: Sanne Smid

Sanne is a PhD student at the Methodology & Statistics department at Utrecht University. In 2012, Sanne received her BSc. in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences and in 2014 her MSc. in Methodology and Statistics of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Utrecht University. Before her PhD, she worked for 1.5 years as a lecturer at the Methodology & Statistics department, at which she taught various courses from bachelor to postgraduate level, and assisted in several research projects. 

Software and Computer Support

Participants need to bring a laptop computer with Wi-Fi capabilities. We strongly recommend that you also bring an extension cord or power strip plugs are often at a 10 – 15′ distance from your desk.

Statistical software used at Stats Camp will be available, free to participants, on our SMORS (statistical modeling on remote servers) system for the duration of camp.

The analysis retreat will support Mplus and Lavaan. Previous knowledge of Mplus or Lavaan is preferred but not required.

Analysis Retreat Files

Analysis retreat files and downloads will be posted on the first day of class. Please download these files onto your computer at the beginning of the first day. The files are password protected to respect the intellectual property rights of the instructors. By using your login information, you agree not to share login information or the content protected by it.

Why Should You Attend?

  • Get 1 on 1 Consultation With Instructor
  • Professional Networking
  • Peer Socializing
  • Collaboration
  • All Analysis Retreat Resources
  • Breakfast, Lunches, & Snacks Daily