Consulting Services

The Statistical Consulting Seminar, offered through Department of Mathematical Sciences, provides:

  1. a setting for graduate students in Statistics to learn and practice skills for effective consulting under the guidance of the Statistics faculty.
  2. free consultation for MSU researchers related to the design of future studies and experiments, the appropriate choice, application, and presentation of statistical methods and results, and/or appropriate interpretation of results following statistical analysis.

Requests for the services of the Statistical Consulting Seminar should be first directed to the Statistical Consulting and Research Services, make sure you indicate interest in getting help from students in the Statistical Consulting Seminar. To follow up on your request or get more information about the services provided by the seminar, you can contact the current faculty coordinator, Dr. Mark Greenwood.

WHO is eligible for help?

Any currently enrolled graduate student or current faculty member at the university may request free assistance.  If you are not affiliated with the university, fee-based consulting may be possible, though priority will be given to MSU affiliates.

WHEN should I seek help?

It is never too early.  We encourage researchers to seek advice in the planning and design phases of their project, rather than after data collection.  You do NOT need to have data in hand for us to help you.  You also may use our services more than one time for the same project.  Priority is given to researchers in the design and proposal phases of research.

HOW LONG will it take?

This service is not designed to provide immediate assistance.  Most projects take 6-8 weeks to complete after the initial meeting.  This allows us time to discuss your project, ask follow-up questions, and provide you with a written final report.  Projects are adopted by the seminar based on researcher amenability to the process, estimated needs, and availability of the students in the seminar.

Are services available in the summer?

No, the seminar does not run in the summer.  You many, however, submit a request during the summer to potentially obtain assistance during Fall semester.  Contact SCRS for assistance during the summer.

Will you do my analysis for me?

No.  Our services provide consultation with the goal of helping you complete the analysis of your data.  Consultants provide advice and will not do data entry or statistical analyses for you.  Occasionally, other arrangements can be made for such services for a fee.

Can the service be used for homework problems or class projects?

No.  The service is designed to support graduate student and faculty research.  Limited resources may be available for students participating in undergraduate research projects.

Will you give me an answer during the first meeting?

No. The first meeting is designed to collect information about your question(s) of interest, your data collection, your statistical background, etc.  Your statistical consultant will then present the information to our consulting group and we will discuss the problem and potential solutions in detail.  The consultant may contact you for follow-up information before writing a final report and meeting with you to discuss the advice.  The length of time to complete the project  will vary and often depends on its complexity.

How should I prepare for the initial meeting?

In order to avoid giving you incorrect advice, the consultant will need to ask about many details of your study – more details than you may think are needed.  The information requested when submitting your request provides a great starting point.  However, the more the consultant knows about your project before the first meeting, the better he/she will understand your problem and the more progress can be made during the meeting.   Extra potentially helpful information may be a copy of the research proposal (particularly sections that define the objectives of your research and study design), a diagram of the experimental layout or sampling design, possible limitations in materials or time, and/or exploratory plots of the raw data and data summaries.  If you have any questions about whether specific information should be provided, feel free to contact your assigned consultant or the faculty seminar coordinator.

Should I register for STAT 510?

No.  The course is for the Statistics students doing the consulting, it is not for clients.

Comments From You

We appreciate feedback from those people using the consulting service.  We are committed to continued improvement of the services provided by the Statistical Consulting Seminar.  If you have comments, please send them to the seminar coordinator.  Expect an email after the completion of your project to provide direct feedback on the process.

Note: We would like to thank Cliff Pereira at Oregon State University for permission to use some of their materials.

Updated: 07/19/2019