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 (now retired) 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 is resident in Stockholm, where, according to LinkedIn, he works as Head of risk digization, Swedbank. Tony Vladusic was also a PhD student in the lab, moved on to the ANU, worked as a computational neuroscientist, and now works as a mobile application developer, and is also founder of Complexion software. Graham Jamieson combined an interest in the links between brain activity, hypnosis and meditation with an interest in the martial arts, and has for some years now been a Psychology lecturer 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 would still recommend.

Griffith University was a home base from 1999 through until 2016, 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 (now retired). Bill Metcalf worked with me on a Research methods forum (now defunct) and for a number of years 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 Executive Dean at Edith Cowan University, and also Ian Hay, Romina Jamieson-Proctor, and Brendan Bartlett (all three retired).

Prior to GU, I worked for a while at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) as an associate psychology lecturer. Doug Mahar (now retired) 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, now at the University of Queensland, also runs Statisticat, a 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. I also worked with Barbara Adkins, a gifted academic (also now retired) who 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.

At one point, 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 followed Bruce Muirhead as he moved on from Eidos to Mindhive, where he now runs a sophisticated crowd sourcing website. I also met up with Carolyn Mason and did some work with her after meeting at an Eidos event.