Researchers’ use of statistics in creative and qualitative disciplines

Sue Gordon*, Anna Reid, Peter Petocz

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


    The aim of this chapter is to open up and explore a little-researched area of statistics education. We investigate how academics and postgraduate students use quantitative approaches to carry out research in creative and qualitative disciplines, such as music, design and art. We describe our method of interviewing 19 participants by email, indicate respondents’ research contexts and the role that statistical techniques played in their research. We discuss how interviewees familiarised themselves with quantitative methods and what assistance they received and would have liked to receive. We investigate the researchers’ epistemological views underpinning their methodological approaches. Finally, we develop an interpretive tool for situating research approaches where the home discipline is not usually associated with quantitative methods. The findings raise important issues about the training and institutional support of researchers in these fields.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTopics from Australian Conferences on Teaching Statistics
    Subtitle of host publicationOZCOTS 2008-2012
    EditorsHelen MacGillivray, Michael A. Martin, Brian Phillips
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
    Number of pages20
    ISBN (Electronic)9781493906031
    ISBN (Print)9781493906024
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventAustralian Conferences on Teaching Statistics, OZCOTS 2008-2012 - Adelaide, Australia
    Duration: 12 Jul 201213 Jul 2012

    Publication series

    NameSpringer Proceedings in Mathematics & Statistics


    OtherAustralian Conferences on Teaching Statistics, OZCOTS 2008-2012


    • Statistical support for research
    • Music
    • Creative arts
    • Epistemology
    • E-mail interviews
    • Thematic analysis


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