Making sense of numbers and words: Statistical methods

Peter Grimbeek

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Work-related friends and colleagues

When we first met, Stephen Atherton and I were both primary school teachers at Goodna State School. I returned to university to study Psychology, and he went on to work for Apple Australia (and did so until recently - Stephen now lives in France).

While I was still a teacher, Geoff Smith worked at UQ's Dept of Education assisting postgraduates as a statistics advisor and then as a free-lance advisor. I remember Geoff particularly for pointing out that one could use standardised residuals to identify the locus of effects in contingency table analyses.

I met Jonathan Dwyer in 1988 when we were both doing fourth year Psychology at the University of Queensland. He completed a PhD that investigated the limits of exploratory factor analysis techniques by varying the numbers of factors, etc, produced under Monte Carlo randomisations of those datasets. Jonathan encouraged me to take up statistics tutoring, which led to the work that I do nowadays. Jonathan, in contrast, after completing the PhD became interested in clinical work (therapising), and has worked as a therapist for some years now.

I worked very closely with Craig Shaw during our respective PhDs, with Jack Broerse as our joint supervisor. Craig went on to work in a number of settings including Telstra and SPSS Australia, where he consulted on the use of data mining software. Craig now works as Chief Data Scientist at DemystData in Hong Kong. Tony Vladusic is the only person from Jack's lab who has continued to work in the area of vision research, most recently as Research Fellow at the University of South Australia. Graham Jamieson combined an interest in the links between brain activity, hypnosis and meditation with an interest in the martial arts, and is now a Psychology academic at the University of New England. Others included Janet Wiles (now Professor at The School of Information Technology & Electrical Engineering, University of Queensland), Anthony Bloesch (now at Microsoft) and Julie McCredden (Research Officer at School of Mining & Mechanical Engineering, UQ).

Rod Ashton (retired some while ago now) was a very approachable academic at Psychology, UQ, ever willing to review yet another piece of software for the UQ Apple Computer User publication, Macademia, that I was editing at that time (eg., Uncle Ashton's Microsoft Word 5.1a review, April 1993). Statistically eminent academics now retired included Professor John Bain and Ray Pike. Another ex-academic, Andrew Tilley, produced an introductory text on statistics that I still recommend.

Griffith University has been a home base since 1999 in terms of my work as a stats/methods advisor. Colleagues and friends at GU have included Fiona Bryer (now retired), Wendi Beamish, , Wendy Moyle, and Bill Metcalf. Bill Metcalf worked with me on a Research methods forum (now defunct) and for a number of years has kept me employed as a stats advisor at the Griffith Graduate School of Research (GGRS).

Bill Wrigley completed a PhD in education at GU focussed on assessment issues in the area of musical education. Bill went on to other adventures and is at the moment running a small business teaching academic writing. Other colleagues and friends met at GU who have since moved on to bigger and better things include Stephen Winn, now at USQ, Ian Hay, now at UTAS, and Romina Jamieson-Proctor, now at ACU, and Brendan Bartlett (now at ACU).

Prior to GU, I worked for a while at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) as an associate psychology lecturer. Doug Mahar (now at the University of the Sunshine Coast) was an interesting combination of cognitive psychologist and programmer, and generous to boot (at one point I inherited a course on Human Factors from him complete with PowerPoints, handouts, etc). Janine Lurie provides stats advice and lectures on statistics in the school of Psychology, QUT, and also provides stats advice and at the University of the Sunshine Coast, as well as running her own stats consulting company.

After I'd moved on to GU, I worked with Penny McKay at QUT, a force to be reckoned with in the TESOL field, as well as working with Barbara Adkins, a gifted academic who has internalised the thinking of Pierre Bourdieu in relation to qualitative research, and whose research design course became the basis for one I offered at GU for some years.

I did some work at the Australian Catholic University (ACU). One of my ventures there, as part of a project coordinated by John Barletta, was to analyse data from a marriage preparation instrument. John used to lecture on counselling and provide clinical supervision at ACU but as can be seen by clicking on his link, now operates a private practice.

While working at Eidos Institute, I had the good fortune to observe Bruce Muirhead accomplishing his organisational magic in the company of Sandra Haukka and Walter Robb. I also met up with Carolyn Mason and started working with her after meeting at an Eidos event.