Mary Thompson

Distinguished Professor Emerita

Mary ThompsonContact Information:
Mary Thompson

​Research interests

At present Professor Thompson works primarily in survey methodology and sampling theory. Her book Theory of Sample Surveys describes the mathematical and foundational theory in detail; it also contains a systematic approach to using estimating functions in surveys, and a thorough discussion (with examples) of the role of the sampling design when survey data are used for analytic purposes.

Another theme of her research has concerned estimation for stochastic processes. These themes come together in aspects of inference from complex longitudinal surveys. Issues in the design of longitudinal surveys to support causal inference are central to work on the International Tobacco Control Survey, with which Professor Thompson has been involved since 2002. She studies the application of multilevel models and longitudinal models with time-varying covariates to complex survey data, including the best ways to adapt the estimating functions systems for use with survey weights, and the use of resampling techniques to provide accurate interval estimates.

She is also currently collaborating on projects modeling the spread of disease on random networks.


Professor Thompson has been active in the Statistical Society of Canada, serving as president in 2003-04. She is particularly interested in promoting collaboration between statisticians and researchers in the natural, health and social sciences.

She is the initial scientific director of the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute (CANSSI), launched in November of 2012.

Selected publications

  • Zhou, Q. M., Song, P. X.-K. and Thompson, M. E. (2012) Information ratio test for model misspecification in quasi-likelihood inference. Journal of the American Statistical Association 107.
  • Wang, Z. and Thompson, M. E. (2012) A resampling approach to estimate variance components of multilevel models. Canadian Journal of Statistics 40, 150-171.
  • Meng, G., Law, J. and Thompson, M. E. (2010) Small-scale health-related indicator acquisition using secondary data spatial interpolation. International Journal of Health Geographics 50.
  • Pantoja-Galicia, N., Thompson, M. E. & Kovacevic, M. (2009) Assessing the temporal association of events using complex longitudinal surveys. In P. Lynn, Ed. Methodology of Longitudinal Surveys. Wiley. 333-350.
  • Godambe, V. P. and Thompson, M. E. (2009) Estimating functions and survey sampling. In C. R. Rao and D. Pfeffermann, Eds. Handbook of Statistics. Sample Surveys: Inference and Analysis Volume 29b. Elsevier, 669-687.
  • Thompson, M. E. (2008) International surveys: motives and methodologies. Survey Methodology 34, 131-141.
  • Thompson, M. E. and Wu, C. (2008) Simulation-based randomized systematic PPS sampling under substitution of units. Survey Methodology 34, 3-10.
  • Labbe, A. & Thompson, M. E. (2007) Multiple testing using the posterior probabilities of directional alternatives, with application to genomic studies. Canadian Journal of Statistics 35, 51-68.
  • Feng, Z. Z., Chen, J., & Thompson, M. E. (2007) Asymptotic properties of the likelihood ratio test statistics in affected-sib-pair analysis. Canadian Journal of Statistics 35, 51-68.
University of Waterloo
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