Researchers’ Use of Statistics in Creative and Qualitative Disciplines

Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Mathematics & Statistics book series (PROMS, volume 81)


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.


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


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mathematics Learning CentreThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Sydney Conservatorium of MusicThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Department of StatisticsMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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