Interview with a team member: Tim Draws

In our series Interview With A Team Member, we aim to introduce the people behind the JASP project. Today we are interviewing Tim Draws.


Tim is a graduate student at the Department of Psychological Methods at the University of Amsterdam. At JASP, he is responsible for marketing and communication. He also contributes to educational material and the Machine Learning Module of JASP.

 

What is your professional background?

After working as a freelancer in web design for a while, I studied Psychology at the University of Amsterdam. During my Bachelor’s I developed a strong interest for statistics and data analysis, which is why I decided to specialize in Psychological Methods. Next, I enrolled in the Master’s program Behavioural Data Science at the University of Amsterdam, which is the degree I am currently pursuing.

What is your favorite statistical test?

This award is going to the Bayesian binomial test. It is a fairly simple test, yet it can sometimes answer very interesting questions. Plus, it lends itself well to explain basic Bayesian concepts. The Bayesian binomial test also played a crucial role in my Bachelor’s thesis.

What is your relation to JASP?

As mentioned above, I developed a passion for statistics during my Bachelor’s. At some point during my second year, EJ (Wagenmakers) gave a series of lectures about Bayesian statistics to my class, of course including an introduction to JASP. I was really fascinated by both the topic and the software, so I sent EJ an email asking whether I could volunteer at the lab. The answer was yes, and a couple of months later that volunteer position turned into an actual job as a Research Assistant. January 2019 will mark my second anniversary at JASP! Right now, I mainly do marketing-related things for JASP such as the website and the blog. I also contribute to educational material such as blog posts and video tutorials, and as part of my Master’s thesis I am co-developing a Machine Learning Module for JASP.

What feature of JASP do you like best?

I love the workflow in JASP. Whenever friends ask me to help them with their statistical analyses, I first show them how it’s done in JASP, because it is the easiest and most intuitive statistical software I know that also has a graphical user interface. JASP is very clean, and you have a lot of freedom to do different things very quickly. For instance, if you’re interested in a certain plot, you can just add it to your analysis, and remove it again if you don’t need it — both in just one click. Although I mainly use R for my own analyses, I often find myself opening JASP to quickly try something out.

What aspect of JASP would you like to see improved in a future version?

As mentioned above, we are working on a Machine Learning Module. That is something that I would personally really like to see finished. I believe the Machine Learning Module will be a great tool for experimentation as well as introducing students to the topic of machine learning.

Are you a Bayesian, a frequentist, an agnostic, a pragmatist, or perhaps something else?

Full-on Bayesian. As mentioned earlier, it is what fascinated me most when I took the statistics-route in psychology. My fascination continued and became well-grounded as I moved on with my studies. Of course there are situations where no Bayesian analysis is available, but whenever there is, I try to make use of it. Bayesian statistics has many advantages, but I especially like the option to quantify evidence in favor of the null hypothesis. That, to me, makes it a much more holistic approach compared to anything else.

What question would you like to answer?

Who let the dogs out?

I have no idea. But that’s a question I have been wanting to answer for a long time.


 

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