Faculty and graduate students from the College of Education & Human Services (CEHS) are eligible to receive methodological and statistical consulting assistance from the Stat Studio. This service is provided for free as a benefit to the faculty and graduate students of CEHS for up to 10 hours per semester. The vast majority of consultations can be concluded within this timeframe. Situations requiring longer-term consultations will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis with the client and the director of the Stat Studio in conjunction with the Associate Dean for Research of the CEHS. The Stat Studio does not provide consultation for course-related projects or tutoring.
Note: If the project is part of a thesis or dissertation, the graduate student must fill out the request form and book all appointments.
The purpose of these forms is to provide the relevant background, research methods, and goals of the project to the Stat Studio consultants. The consultants must learn enough about your specific project to effectively help with the design of the research or analysis of the data. After filling out contact information, you will be asked to provide information that will help the consultant understand your research. Include details focused on your hypothesis, what you have accomplished, and what you would like help with.
Remember that the more information you provide, the better prepared your consultant will be to assist you. You may email other relevant information, documents, and questions to Sarah.Schwartz@usu.edu.
Note: All graduate students must fill out their own request form and be accompanied by their advisor, mentor, or committee chair during their initial "INTAKE" meeting.
The purpose of the initial “intake” meeting is to clarify the relevant background, research methods, and goals of the project. Your Stat Studio consultant will review your previously submitted ‘Consultation Request Form’ with you and ask questions to ensure they have a clear overview of the project and your needs. You can prepare for the initial meeting bringing a written list of questions and goals for the meeting. You may also bring along additional documents and data summaries that may help your consultant better understand your project.
Although consultants are often able to answer questions during your meeting, it is likely that you will need follow-up assistance. Towards the end of your meeting, your consultant will help you determine if and when additional appointments are necessary. They will also be available to answer questions by telephone and email. Graduate students off campus may complete their appointments via telephone or through Zoom video conferencing.
Policies and Procedures
Eligibility and Scope for Consultation
The purpose of the initial "intake" meeting is to clarify the relevant background, research methods, and goals of the project. Your Stat Studio consultant will review your previously submitted 'Consultation Request Form' with you and ask questions to ensure they have a clear overview of the project and your needs.
You can prepare for the initial appointment by bringing a written list of questions and goals for the meeting. You may also bring along additional documents and data summaries that may help your consultant better understand your project.
All graduate students must fill out their own request form and be accompanied by their advisor, mentor, or committee chair during their initial "INTAKE" meeting.
Although consultants are often able to answer questions during your meeting, it is likely that you will need follow-up assistance. Towards the end of your meeting, your consultant will help you determine if and when additional appointments are necessary.
Sharing Your Data with the Stat Studio
Prior to providing any Stat Studio consultant with any electronic form of your data, please follow all IRB protocol. This may include adding your consultant (including A-number and CITI certification expiration) to your protocol as a co-investigator.
Please contact the IRB with any questions about sharing the data in your protocol: (435) 797-1821 or email@example.com.
Power Analysis and Sample Size Calculations
Frequently, Stat Studio consultants are asked to assist in conducting sample size estimations for IRB or grant applications purposes. For these situations, if the information is provided in advance, it may be possible to provide you with sample size calculations based on a variety of scenarios prior to the meeting, which will then be discussed further during the meeting.
The sample sizes for more complicated designs are probably best discussed during the initial intake appointment. For basic designs the following information is useful in conducting an effective sample size analysis:
- The precise details of the primary aim of the study
- The effect size you are attempting to detect, i.e. what difference, change, rate, percent is practically important?
- The standard deviations of the means if you are comparing groups
- Any limitation on the number of subjects you will be able to recruit within the study time-scale
Authorship and Acknowledgment
We do not see providing services as an alternative to or a justification for not providing co-authorship on grant applications, presentations, or publications.
We expect that in situations where the consultant makes substantive input to the design, analysis, or reporting of a project, this should be recognized by appropriate co-authorship of the deliverables that result. Ideally, this issue should be clarified at an early stage of any collaboration.
Prior to acknowledging our input to any report, abstract, paper, poster, or publication we would like to review the wording of the acknowledgment, and usually the document itself as well. This will avoid repetition of unfortunate situations where we have advised on a small part of a project, but acknowledgments have implied that other statistically flawed parts of a paper were also based on our advice.
We expect to provide services to most or all clients who seek help, although it may depend on the availability of consultants.
Due to existing workloads and because there are many study designs and statistical techniques, it is possible that the consultant is not an expert in the appropriate area and/or cannot offer a complete solution to your problem within the time available. In such cases, we ask for your patience as the consultant may be able to provide further information at a later date if you wish the problem examined in more detail. However, we cannot guarantee that it will be possible to do this within your time-scale and further work is at the discretion of the consultant.
Frequently, we find that individuals believe that their data require a simple and straightforward analysis. However, from our experience we find that this may not necessarily be the correct or most appropriate analysis. Therefore, it is useful to have as much information about the study and problem as possible in order to determine the most appropriate analysis.
At what stage of research is it best to seek methodological advice?As early as possible!
What can Stat Studio staff do to help your proposal preparation?Methodological thinking can contribute greatly to the success of research proposals in most areas. At many granting agencies, the quality of methodological planning can tip the balance in favor of funding. We can help you with proposal preparation by advising you on the methodological aspects of your proposed research. This includes experimental design, sample-survey planning, and subsequent analyses. If a substantial role for statistics is proposed, we will gladly join in your proposal to the extent that our resources permit.
What if my questions cannot be answered in one session?Multiple sessions are quite common. Repeat sessions may continue over weeks, months, or even years. If the assigned team cannot answer all of your questions, they will (a) tell you so, (b) schedule a follow-up appointment, or (c) find the information you need, either by delving into the relevant methodological literature, or by consulting with a colleague who has the expertise required.
What should I bring to the initial meeting?
If you seek our advice on experimental design or planning a survey before gathering your data — and we recommend that you do — bring a clear idea of the purpose of your research: the hypotheses you'd like to test and the research questions you'd like to answer. Copies of articles or earlier work on similar topics in your discipline would also be helpful. If you are seeking our advice on data analysis or report writing after the fact, then also bring a copy of the data gathering protocol, a spreadsheet copy of the data itself, and the results of any analyses already performed.
Does Stat Studio Provide computer assistance
The general answer is yes, but there are qualifications. The significant word here is "statistical." Stat Studio will provide assistance with the use of statistical computer software, but we do not provide assistance with more general computer software, such as operating systems, file management programs, or word processing programs.
In what condition should my data be in when I come to the Stat Studio?
We have found that cleaning and preparing data for analysis requires far longer than actually running some of the analyses. Therefore, it is helpful (and cost-effective) to have thoroughly investigated your data, checked for impossible values, and have it organized in a spreadsheet prior to your initial meeting. One bit of advice, leave missing data blank or use an impossible value to code these data (e.g., -999), never use a 0! Quantify as much of your data as possible (i.e. code open ended responses into a few categories consistent with your research purpose, and never have more than one value in a single spreadsheet cell). We also request that NO names or social security numbers be included in any data handled by Stat Studio. If such information must be included, however, we will use special encryption procedures for its protection. Your data will be stored in a secured computer environment protected by user authorization and passwords. Data of all formats are welcome (e.g., emailed, zip, USB drives, CD, or DVD .
What software does Stat Studio use for data analysis?
We have many software programs available for data manipulation and analysis. We also possess programs for converting data from one statistical software format to another. We possess licenses for SPSS, SAS, Mplus, HLM, and LISREL and also have many open source software programs available (e.g., G*Power, R,).
Do you provide help with undergraduate or graduate research methods or statistical homework?
No. We are not a methodological or statistical “tutoring” center. Please see your instructor or your teaching assistants for help.
Do you provide help with undergraduate honors or senior thesis projects?
Yes. We provide the same level of support as we do graduate students.