Ian Gordon

Professor Ian Gordon

(03) 8344 7993


My main responsibility is as Director of the Statistical Consulting Centre. I have 30 years of experience in applied statistical work, and a particular interest in communicating statistical ideas effectively in all I do. I am particularly interested in problem-solving from a statistical perspective. The work which has interested me most has involved a puzzle in some way: why are the data like this? I am also very interested in the use of statistical methods to promote health and well-being in society, and to promote justice. So there has been an emphasis in my consulting on medical and epidemiological research, and, in my expert witness work, on cases where disadvantaged or vulnerable people were seeking justice.

I have written over 200 consulting reports for projects of all sizes, and for clients from business, industry and government.  I have acted as an expert witness in many court cases in a variety of jurisdictions.

I have a Bachelor of Science (Honours), Master of Science, and a PhD, all in mathematical statistics. I am a member of the Statistical Society of Australia; I was the President of the Victorian Branch Council from 2009 to 2010, and Vice-President in 2008 and 2011. I am an Accredited Statistician (AStat) with the Statistical Society of Australia and a member of the Australasian Epidemiological Association.


I am a Professor of Statistics in the School of Mathematics and Statistics. I have been a Chief Investigator on nationally competitive grants (ARC Discovery, ARC Linkage and NHRMC). I have supervised or co-supervised five PhD students to completion. My refereed publications have a total of over 1600 citations and my current h-index is 23 (this means that 23 of my publications have 23 or more citations). My methodological research has been mainly in sample size and meta-analysis; my collaborative research has been in many fields, including cardiac surgery, cancer, cardiovascular research, dentistry, geomatics and social and occupational epidemiology.

Expert witness work

Since 1988 I have acted as an expert witness in proceedings on a large variety of matters and in several jurisdictions. In 2014 I appeared in the Federal Court to give evidence regarding estimates of the number of breaches of the Credit Act, in a Proceeding brought by ASIC against The Cash Store, a short-term lender. The judgment imposed a penalty of $19M against the defendant; see paragraphs 9 and 10 for the reliance placed on my evidence.

I provided evidence in The “Safety Net Review, 2003” case. A search on my name, “Gordon”, indicates the reliance the Tribunal placed on my evidence. Note paragraph 131 in particular.

I was engaged by Arnold Bloch Leibler to assist them with an application by young African men against Victoria Police, involving allegations of racial discrimination and racial profiling. The case was settled after the proceedings commenced. See here for a relevant Age editorial.

See here for more information about my experience as an expert witness.


I have taught courses in statistics from first year to Masters level. I am the lecturer for the Masters course The Practice of Statistics (MAST90027), in which mainstream statistics Masters students learn about the real application of statistics in practice. This subject is directly informed by my own experience in the SCC. Each year I co-teach intensive short courses open to anyone. Statistics for Research Workers comes in two different flavours – using R (in February) and SPSS (in November). I co-teach (with Sue Finch) an introductory statistical methods course for post-graduate students at the University of Melbourne; this is also called Statistics for research workers. The course code is MAST90007. I collaborated on the development of two innovative courses in statistical literacy at the University of Melbourne. Critical thinking with data is a University of Melbourne breadth subject available to all first years. It teaches students to become critical users of data-based evidence. You can find out more here. Thinking Scientifically is a new online breadth subject for second year science students, which includes a substantial component about Thinking with data.

Recent publications

Granger CL, Holland AE, Gordon IR, Denehy L.  Minimal important difference of the 6-minute walk distance in lung cancer. Chronic Respiratory Disease 2015; DOI: 10.1177/1479972315575715.

Finch, S. & Gordon, I. (2014).  The development of a first course in statistical literacy for undergraduates. In MacGillivray, H., Martin, M., and Phillips, B. (eds) Topics from Australian Conferences on Teaching Statistics: OZCOTS 2008-2012, Springer Science + Business Media, New York.

Gordon IR, Finch SJ.  Statistician heal thyself: have we lost the plot?  Journal of Computational and Statistical Graphics 2014;  DOI: 10.1080/10618600.2014.989324  (to appear in 2015).

Campbell T, Dunt D, Fitzgerald JL, Gordon I.  The impact of patient narratives on self-efficacy and self-care in Australians with type 2 diabetes: stage 1 results of a randomized trial. Health Promotion International 2013; doi:10.1093/heapro/dat058.

Pierce R, Chick H, Gordon I. Teachers’ perceptions of the factors influencing their engagement with statistical reports on student achievement data. Australian Journal of Education 2013; 57: 237-255.

Ratnam I, et al. Incidence and risk factors for acute respiratory illnesses and influenza virus infections in Australian travellers to Asia. J Clin Virol 2013; 57:54 – 58.

Berlowitz DJ, Spong J, Gordon I, Howard ME, Brown DJ. Relationships between objective sleep indices and symptoms in a community sample of people with tetraplegia. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2012; 93: 1246-52.

Hepworth G, Gordon I. Assessing similarity of DNA profiles. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series C 2011; 60: 125 – 133.

Berney SC, Gordon IR, Opdam HI, Denehy L.  A classification and regression tree to assist clinical decision making in airway management for patients with cervical spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord 2011; 49: 244 – 250.

Berlowitz DJ, Spong J, O’Donoghue FJ, Pierce RJ, Brown DJ, Campbell DA, Catcheside PG, Gordon I, Rochford PD.  Transcutaneous measurement of carbon dioxide tension during extended monitoring: evaluation of accuracy and stability, and an algorithm for correcting calibration drift. Respiratory Care 2011; 56: 442 – 448.

All publications here.