ITNS–The Second Edition!

Routledge, our publisher, has started planning for a second edition. That’s very exciting news! The only problem is that Bob and I can’t think of anything that needs improving. Ha! But, seriously, we’d love to hear from you about things we should revise, update, or somehow improve. (Of course, we’d also love to hear about the good aspects.) We’d especially like to hear from:

Teachers who are using ITNS. What do you like? What’s missing? What are the irritations? What difficulties have you encountered?

Students who are using ITNS. Same questions! Also, how could the book be more appealing, accessible, effective, even fun?

Potential teachers. You have considered ITNS, perhaps examining an inspection copy, but you decided against adoption. Why? Was it mainly the book and ancillaries, or outside factors? How could we revise so that you would elect to adopt?

The Routledge marketing gurus tell us that one strong message back from the field is: “ITNS is really good, just what the world needs and should be using. But for me, right now, it’s too hard to change. I’ll wait until others are using it, maybe until I’m forced to change.” If that’s how you feel, please let us know.

Perhaps that position is understandable, but it seems to conflict with the enthusiasm with which some (many?) young researchers are embracing Open Science, and the major changes to research practices that Open Science requires. Consider, for example, the emergence of SIPS and, just recently, the Down-Under version.

That position (i.e., it’s too hard to change right now) also contrasts strongly with the strong and positive responses that Bob and I get whenever we give talks or workshops about the new statistics and Open Science.

So we’re puzzled why more teachers are not yet switching their teaching approach–we’ve tried hard to make ITNS and, especially, its ancillaries as helpful as we can for anyone wishing to make the switch.

Thinking about how we could improve ITNS, here are a few of the issues you may care to comment about:

Open Science Lots has happened since we finalised the text of ITNS. We would certainly revise the examples and update our report of how Open Science is progressing. However, the basics of Open Science, as discussed in Chapter 1 and several later chapters, endure. ITNS is the first introductory text to integrate Open Science ideas all through, so we had to figure out for ourselves how best to do that. How could we do it better?

ESCI ESCI is intended to make basic statistical ideas vivid, memorable, and easy to grasp. It also allows you to analyse your own data and picture the results, for a range of measures and simple designs. Many of the figures in the book are ESCI images. However, in ESCI you can’t, for example, easily load, save, and manage files. The online ancillaries include workbooks with guidance for using ITNS with SPSS, and with R. Should we consider replacing ESCI, noting that we want to retain the graphics and simulations to support learning? Should we retain ESCI, but include more support for Jamovi, JASP, or something else? Other strategies we should consider?

NHST and p values We present these in Chapter 6, after the basics of descriptives, sampling, and estimation in earlier chapters. You can elect to skip this chapter, or give it as little or as much emphasis as you wish. Is this the best chapter organisation?

Ancillaries We offer a wide range via the publisher’s companion website. What’s most useful? Least useful? How could we improve the ancillaries?

…they are just a few thoughts. Tell us about anything you wish. You could even tell us it’s all wonderful, if you like!

In advance, many thanks,

Geoff
P.S. Make a public comment below, and/or email either of us, off list:
Geoff g.cumming@latrobe.edu.au
Bob rcalinjageman@dom.edu

8 comments on “ITNS–The Second Edition!
  1. I love ESCI, but loading up Excel is a hurdle to showing it to other people. HTML and Javascript probably offer the least resistance to sharing.

    For example, I made this Javascript version of the “Dance of the CIs”:
    http://logarithmic.net/2017/dance/

    • Geoff Cumming says:

      Hi Paul,
      Thanks, that’s great. We appreciate the issues with Excel, including the lack of perfect compatability with Mac. Bob has some prototypes of various different approaches to building the simulations. The software decisions are critical, not least because any major change would be a very large task.
      BTW, it’s good to see prediction intervals, and essential to have the definition at the bottom. My first inclination is to assume ‘prediction interval’ refers to an interval with a stated probability of including the mean of a replication, rather than a single data value. But, as you know, the term does not have a single agreed usage.
      Geoff

  2. Ah, sorry. I’ve now added prediction intervals for the mean of replication.

    The only other thing I can say from my own experience is that the R shiny library is easy to get things running in, but can feel clunky to use, and hosting applications is potentially a problem. One potentially interesting use of shiny would be to offer a package in which some of the functions open small shiny apps to interact with.

  3. I love your book! I have still not finished reading it, but as far as I read, I see two strong points making your book outstanding: (a) Integrating Open Science and (b) exploring and constructing understanding.

    I think for the second edition you could elaborate on these two points:
    (a) There was much change in websites servicing Open Science. You could point to these new sites, explain their functionality and give exercises to use it (like to get an ORCID-Number, preregistering a study design, loading and describing a dataset etc.

    (b) Constructing knowledge with your exploring approach is done with your ESCI -Excel software. The problem here is that your tool for explaining/exploring is not the same as the tool for using statistics on a professional level. My recommendation would be to use R and to provide all the interactivity of your ESCI – software (and much more) with R, RStudio and Shiny. There is also “learnr” – a program packages for using R as a tutorial software (https://rstudio.github.io/learnr/.

    Please keep in mind that I am not a Statistician but from by professional training a sociologist, working as professor in educational technology and training of digital competencies in an Austria university. One of my specialization in the last two years was to work on data literacy education (and Open Science). This new subject area was also the reason that I read many introductory books on statistics and got so excciting about your approach.

  4. Geoff Cumming says:

    Peter,
    Thank you for your comment, your highly positive words, and your observations!
    Yes, in a second edition we would certainly update, and probably expand, the Open Science material. It’s exciting that OS is progressing so quickly. The OS material in the book was actually written about 2.5 years ago, which in OS terms seems like half a lifetime.
    Yes again. R is definitely the way to go. (You may know that there is an R workbook and guide to go with ITNS, at the publisher’s companion site for the book. Not the same as having it integrated all through, I know.) My decision 20 years ago to start building ESCI in Excel was the right decision then, but, happily, the software world has changed massively since. R and its various tools and packages must be top of our list of options, but I think it’s also worth considering JASP and jamovi, both of which are based on R, open source, and provide extensive and expanding data analytic capabilities. They are each intended as better (and cheaper!) replacements for SPSS.
    Thanks again for your advice and your enthusiasm. I hope ITNS and its ancillaries can serve you well,
    Geoff

    • Thanks for your thoughtful answer. What a shame for me, that I didn’t know about the new approaches with JASP and especially jamovi! – And sorry for my long reply…

      I had a look into jamovi. At first, I was worried that with the interface/menu approach one would lose reproducibility. But then – looking at the videos – I understood that one can share the whole file with all details or even to use the underlying R code. I was especially impressed by the jamovi video on osf.io.

      I understand completely why you decided to wrote the ESCI software and how you could incorporate your “local exerpiments” with jamovi. (With “local experiments I am refering to Donald Schön “The Reflective Practiotioner” and “Educating the Reflective Practitioner”.) I see these local experiments in your book as an essential and outstanding feature! (e.g. “If a data point lies exactly on a bin boundary, does ESCI place it in the bin to the left or the right? Perform an experiment to find out.” or “With the Laptop data …, what two extra data points could you add without changing the mean or the SD?”)

      As jamovi follows a more holistic approach – at least concerning essential statistics competences at the undergraduate levels – all the worries with R-programming, looking and installing the right R-packages etc. are not important anymore. (But as jamovi tries also to build a community supported programme development this advantages may disappear in the near future.)

      But still I think there are some possible weaknesses of jamovi to overcome:

      1) Reporting: From my first experience exporting tables and graphics is a little bit cumbersome and not solved very well. In contrast to R: few formats are available and without R Markdown one loses the possibility of “literate programming”, to combine the report with data analysis and outcome report.

      2) Advanced Statistics: I am lacking professional knowledge but I am not sure if jamovi is suitable also for advanced professional statistics. If not (and some remarks in the last jamovi video – Nr. 52: next steps – suggests this) then one has to change with growing experience at some point to R and learn another software with a different interface (RStudio). When and how this change has to occur is from an educational point of view important and has to be planned carefully.

      3) In support of jamovi people argue that it is a great solution for people who want to change from the very expansive IBM-SPSS to a cost-free open source solution. Actually I do not understand this argument, as I believe that (a) most people in an introductory statistics course (freshman) do not have previous knowledge on SPSS and (b) there is with PSPP a SPSS-like open source solution.

      My personal conclusion so far: I am not sure if it is the best approach to circumvent the steep learning curve of R instead to smooth the many challenges for R beginners. In this sense jamovi would make sense – quasi as an introduction to R using heavily the jmv packages for R. What I had in mind in my first comment was an interactive tutorial using shiny and learnr in order to help beginners to learn R. (I will spend Christmas Holiday for trying to explore this options using your book and approach. Maybe I can show you in January some examples.)

      Finally another suggestion for new edition: At the moment you are starting each chapter describing the content covered in this chapter. But instead of using what will be discussed you should formulate the learning outcomes, e.g. the competences student will have after they have successfully learned the content of the chapter. This is a new way of teaching: Important is not anymore was we (as teacher) are planning but what students are able to do after the have successfully learned the material we have offered. I have no experience with Australia but in Europe this new (student oriented) approach is mandatory. (There is a lot of material on “Learning Outcomes” on the internet, you can also have a look at http://valeru.net/en/, a project we have finisehd succesfully last year in order to train Higher Education people of the Russian federation to implement this new approach.

  5. Geoff Cumming says:

    Peter, that’s gold! Thanks so much for your interest, your work, and your observations.

    Bob, who will do the R and jamovi legwork will of course see your discussion, and may jump in. I’ll also make sure that Jonathan, creator of jamovi, sees your comments.

    Learning objectives–I do know about these, and (a while ago) have used textbooks that emphasise them. I confess that I’m not a huge fan in practice. They usually seem to me contrived and not necessarily helpful for students, especially when we’re aiming for deep learning. But I haven’t followed the literature on their use these last few years, so maybe now there’s evidence to say that students value them and do better? I’ll certainly check out your link and suggestions.

    Thanks again, and all the best for your Christmas break,
    Geoff

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