The joy of many disciplines

One of the great things about working in psychology, or statistics, or–just imagine!– both, is that you can get to play in the backyards of many other folks. As science becomes more and more fragmented, and many researchers feel that their best strategy is to aim for expertise in some highly specialised sub-field, it’s worth taking a moment to enjoy cross- or multi-disciplinary research.

I’ve been lucky enough, over the decades, to publish journal articles with colleagues in computer science, linguistics, education, cell biology, philosophy, ecology, artificial intelligence, statistics, history & philosophy of science, health sciences, and maybe one or two other disciplines that don’t spring to mind right now.

In UTNS, my first book about the new statistics, I included boxed examples from numerous disciplines to illustrate the main argument that anyone using NHST, in whatever discipline, should think hard about making the change to TNS. Maybe as a result I still get emails–almost always positive, and often highly enthusiastic–from folks from a stunning breadth of backgrounds. Recent examples include someone working on assessment of risk in financial markets and another in a ministry for justice.

In ITNS, our introductory book, we mainly focus on psychology–including numerous sub-fields–and education, but we’ve included some examples from wider afield. We certainly believe that our arguments and methods are widely applicable across many disciplines. So we’re delighted when teachers in other disciplines express interest in ITNS.

My most recent example is archaeology. I gave an invited talk to the Archaeology Department at La Trobe University. My slides for the talk are here.

It was a lucky fluke that I had recently posted about archaeology and Open Science, so I could include some archaeology examples. I’m happy to say that the response was highly positive. I was asked specifically about chi-square, so could immediately open the Two proportions page of ESCI intro chapters 10-16, plug in the numbers for an archaeology example, then display the chi-square analysis and our recommended better way based on proportions.

Bob and I dearly hope that ITNS will be of use to folks in lots of disciplines. We love hearing from anyone interested in using ITNS, and particularly so from teachers or researchers outside psychology.


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