I am an Associate Professor in the Statistical Consulting Centre.
My job involves an interesting mix of:
- statistical consulting with clients from inside and outside the University of Melbourne
- assisting post-graduate research students from the University of Melbourne through the Melbourne Statistical Consulting Platform
- teaching post-graduate courses for the University of Melbourne
- developing and teaching tailored courses, both face-to-face and online
- research in statistical education and communication
I have a Bachelor of Science (Honours), Masters of Science, and a PhD, all from the University of Melbourne.
I am an Accredited Statistician (AStat) with the Statistical Society of Australia, and co-chair of the Statistical Consulting Network of the Statistical Society of Australia.
I have worked full-time in the Statistical Consulting Centre since 2004.
In this time I have consulted on over 600 different projects, and provided over 200 reports to clients.
My background is in psychology and statistics, and I bring to consulting over thirty years of experience in working in the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Victorian government agencies, and academic institutions. I enjoy the challenge and stimulation of working with clients from many different fields. Providing plain language explanations and applied interpretations of statistical analysis, often using high quality statistical graphics, is an important part of my consulting practice.
Some examples of my consulting work include:
- Design and analysis of a range of different surveys of public transport users for government agencies including Public Transport Victoria and Transport for NSW.
- Analysis of police records in a case of racial profiling in Flemington and North Melbourne (in collaboration with Ian Gordon).
- Analysis of survey data measuring family and child well-being to investigate the role of family structure, donor insemination, and the child’s knowledge of his/her conception on well-being. This work was done in collaboration with Professor Gab Kovacs and Dr Sarah Wise.
- Analysis of student well-being surveys for the University of Melbourne (in collaboration with Associate Professor Wendy Larcombe and Dr Chi Baik).
Melbourne Statistical Consulting Platform workshops
I teach short, free half-day workshops for eligible University of Melbourne graduate research students and staff.
Statistical Consulting Centre short courses
Each year I teach intensive short courses open to anyone. Statistics for research workers is offered every year. You can find out more about Statistical Consulting Centre courses here.
The Statistical Consulting Centre also offers tailored short courses; I have collaborated on many of these.
University of Melbourne subjects
Ian Gordon and I teach an introductory statistical methods subject for post-graduate students at the University of Melbourne; this is also called Statistics for research workers. The subject code is MAST90007. I also assist with a post-graduate subject on consulting and applied statistics – The practice of statistics (MAST90027).
I collaborated with Ian Gordon developed and coordinate two subjects in the Masters of Applied Analytics. These are the foundation subject, Critical thinking with analytics (MAST91030) and Foundations of analytics (MAST90135).
Statistical literacy subjects
I collaborated on the development of innovative subjects in statistical literacy at the University of Melbourne.
- Critical thinking with data is a University of Melbourne breadth subject available to all first year students. It teaches students to become critical users of data-based evidence. You can find out more here.
- Thinking scientifically is an online breadth subject for second year science students, which includes a substantial component about Thinking with data.
- Data fundamentals is a free online series offered to University of Melbourne students as part of the Employment Fundamentals initiative. It teaches the fundamentals of statistical literacy. It was developed in collaboration with Dr. Kim-Anh Lê Cao.
Statistical consulting provides many and varied opportunities for research collaborations, as you can see from my recent publications.
My research interests are also in statistical education, statistical graphics, and statistical consulting. I am interested in finding better ways of representing, communicating and understanding statistical concepts.
Here’s what I think about pie charts.
Statistical consulting provides many and varied opportunities for research collaborations. Some recent publications arising out of consulting include:
Abel K, Healey M, Finch S, Osianlis T & Vollenhoven B. (2019). Associations between embryo grading and congenital malformations in IVF/ICSI pregnancies. Reproductive BioMedicine Online.
Bowden SC & Finch S (2017) When is a test reliable enough and why does it matter? In Neuropsychological Assessment in the Age of Evidence-Based Practice Diagnostic and Treatment Evaluations, Bowden SC (Ed.), Oxford University Press.
Campbell KE, Dennerstein L, Finch S & Szoeke CE. (2017) Impact of menopausal status on negative mood and depressive symptoms in a longitudinal sample spanning 20 years. Menopause.
D’Aprano A, Johnston H, Jarman R, Jeyaseelan D, Chan YP, Johansen K & Finch S. (2019). Practitioners’ perceptions of the ASQ-TRAK developmental screening tool for use in Aboriginal children: A preliminary survey. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.
Hyakumura T, McDougall SJ, Finch S, Needham K, Dottori M & Nayagam BA. (2019) Organotypic co-cultures of human pluripotent stem cell derived-neurons with mammalian inner ear hair cells and cochlear nucleus slices, Stem Cells International.
Rose AM, Johnstone T, Finch S & Beck C. (2017). The effect of recumbency position on the ultrasound measurement of the canine adrenal gland in non-adrenal gland illness. Veterinary Medicine-Research and Reports.
Ryan A, McColl G J, O’Brien R, Chiavaroli N, Judd T, Finch S & Swanson D. (2017). Tensions in post‐examination feedback: information for learning versus potential for harm. Medical Education.
Walter L, Finch S, Cullen B, Fry R, Logan A & Leury B. (2019) The effect of physiological state, milk production traits and environmental conditions on milk fat globule size in bovine milk. Journal of Dairy Research.
Yu L, Lacorcia L, Finch S, & Johnstone T. (2019). Assessment of treatment outcomes in hyperthyroid cats treated with an orally administered fixed dose of radioiodine. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery,
You can find more of my publications here.
A recent publication about the quality of graphics in academic research:
Gordon I & Finch S. (2015) Statistician heal thyself: have we lost the plot? Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics. 24(4): 1210-1229.
Statistical software for researchers at The University of Melbourne
Reporting and presenting statistical results
Free statistical literacy subject
Data Fundamentals is available to all University of Melbourne students.
This is a series of online statistical literacy modules. The series runs four times a year, and you can register your interest here.
By registering, you will receive emails about when this series is available for enrolment. Once you enrol, you will have access to all the learning materials there.
The four modules are designed to be taken sequentially. Keeping this in mind, you may wish to choose aspects of the content that are most relevant to your needs.
Dr. Sue Finch
Statistical Consulting Centre
The University of Melbourne
139 Barry Street
+61 3 8344 6994
sfinch AT unimelb.edu.au