Wanted: 365 stories of statistics

January 17, 2013
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(This article was originally published at Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

Venn Diagram

The American Statistical Association has a blog called the Statistics Forum that I edit but haven’t been doing much with. Originally I thought we’d get a bunch of bloggers and have a topic each week or each month and get discussions from lots of perspectives. But it was hard to get people to keep contributing, and the blog+comments approach didn’t seem to be working as a way to get wide-ranging discussion. I did organize a good roundtable discussion at one point, but it took a lot of work on my part.

Recently I had another idea for the blog, based on something that Kaiser Fung wrote on three hours in the life of a statistician, along with a similar (if a bit more impressionistic) piece I wrote awhile back describing my experiences on a typical workday.

So here’s the plan. 365 of you write vignettes about your statistical lives. Get into the nitty gritty—tell me what you do, and why you’re doing it. I’ll collect these and then post them at the Statistics Forum, one a day for a year. I think that could be great, truly a unique resource into what statistics and quantitative research is really like. Also it will be perfect for the Statistics Forum: people will want to tune in every day to see what comes next.

If you’re interested in doing this, please contact me directly. I think this is an important project, and I’d like to get statisticians representing a diversity of work experiences.

Free Stan T-shirts for the first 10 people who send in their completed vignettes.

P.S. A commenter asks, “Do you have any guidelines for length and tone of the vignette?” My answer is no, not really. I think of Kaiser’s story as a model, but really it depends on what people write. Anything goes. I think it would be ok to write about successes, or about struggles, or just about everyday worklife. And, as Marianne Moore and my high school English teachers would say, specific details are good.



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