GRS ‘StatsHelp’ Program
Don’t leave it until the last minute to involve a statistician in your project!
Funded by the Graduate Research School
On this page:
Why does your research require statistics?
Who can use the Statistics Help service?
How much does it cost?
How does the Consultation work?
How do I prepare for the Consultation?
Level of statistical advice
Statistics short courses
Opportunities for collaboration
Research theses and research projects sometimes fail or require substantial revision due to:
Poor experimental design
Incorrect application of statistical tests
Violation of assumptions, and
Incorrect interpretation of results.
Data collection, analysis and interpretation of statistical output can be an expensive exercise in both time and money.It is tragic if a research student’s thesis is failed because of such flaws, which can be irredeemable.Involving a statistician, preferably before you start collecting data, can minimise the risk of any of these problems occurring.
Any JCU student who is enrolled in a:
Professional Doctorate, or
Honours and coursework Master’s Degree (fee basis only and pending availability).
Supervisors are very welcome to attend consultation sessions with their postgraduate research students.
The StatsHelp Program is funded by the Graduate Research School.Access to the StatsHelp Program by enrolled postgraduate research students is free.
In the event that a student requires urgent help with a statistical problem, an appointment can be scheduled with a statistician usually within several working days.
One consultation may last up to one hour.The first half of the consultation usually involves the student explaining their problem to the statistician, and the statistician asking questions to clarify they understand the problem to be solved.The second half of the consultation involves the statistician explaining the different statistical approaches that could be applied to the situation and the student asking questions about these different statistical approaches to ensure they understand the concept.
Students who come to the meeting poorly prepared often spend too much time explaining their situation to the statistician, thus leaving less time for the student to learn more about the statistical techniques they could apply to their data.
To make the most of your appointments with the Statistician, be prepared.
One hour may seem like a long time but it passes very quickly.Students who come to their statistics meetings well organised and prepared gain the most from the consultation.
What is your question?
Write down your research questions and hypotheses.
What data do you have?
Summarise what data you have or plan to collect that will be used to answer your research questions/hypotheses. Note the variable names, type of data, number of samples, replication, etc. Diagrams/pictures that describe how/where you will collect your data can also be helpful.
Graph your data
If you have already collected your data, it is highly recommended that you graph the data and bring along a hard copy of these graphs to the meeting.
It is important to remember that the consulting statistician is not an expert in your field.You will need to concisely explain the concepts associated with your data and data collection with minimal use of jargon.
Search the literature relevant to your discipline
Different disciplines and journals will favour different statistical approaches.It is good practice to search the literature to understand how other researchers have applied a statistical method to a situation that is similar to your investigation or target journal.
The statistical advice given will be based on your level of understanding. You will be advised of a statistically correct technique, but not necessarily the optimal statistical technique.You will be advised in writing if a compromise has been made.
The statistical consulting team is able to answer most queries presented by students. From time to time, however, some cases require specialist input that exceeds the role of the consulting team.In these situations, the consulting team will do its best to refer the student to relevant information sources.
Statistical short courses are offered annually as part of the Graduate Research School’s Research Skills Program.
Registrations for Research Skills courses fill up quickly, so be sure to register early.Students who register to attend Research Skills courses but don’t show up on the day (a ‘no-show’) or cancel at the last minute without a valid reason will waive their access to the free one-on-one statistical consulting sessions.
If you require more advanced or time-consuming assistance, the statisticians may be willing to enter a collaborative arrangement which will result in co-authorship of any paper which uses our advice.
GRS Administration Officer
Ms Shannon Hogan
Phone: +61 7 4781 5575
As part of your initial enquiry, please provide a brief background of your research project, your chosen research question and your chosen statistics software.Please provide advice as to the problems you are experiencing with your data, or the questions you would like to ask the statisticians.
If you are seeking assistance following the review of a submitted manuscript by external reviewers, please provide a copy of that manuscript along with the reviewers’ comments.
The consulting statistician(s) will specify dates and times they are available for consultation. Dates and times are usually fixed.
Book in Advance
It is not uncommon for the statistical consulting service to be booked out several weeks in advance. If you would like to meet with a statistician prior to an important date, e.g. your Confirmation of Candidature seminar or data collection, remember to book several weeks in advance.
The StatsHelp program is offered in support of JCU’s graduate research students.Students who book an appointment and then do not turn up at the agreed time without explanation are likely to forfeit any further assistance from the StatsHelp program.Help us to help you – arrive on time, be prepared, and make the most of your StatsHelp appointment.