Consulting with us

All projects begin with an initial meeting involving the client and a statistician.  This initial meeting is free of charge for UCI affiliates.  If the client is a student, the student's major professor must also be present at the first meeting.  If the student's major professor cannot attend the initial meeting, then the student should re-schedule the meeting to a time where the major professor is available to meet.

During the initial meeting, the client will explain to the statistician the premise of the study (motivation, background science, etc.), the overall goals and the research methods to be (or have been) employed.  The statistician must know enough about the problem in order to effectively help the client in his/her research.  Once the statistician grasps a firm understanding of the project, he/she will propose a project plan for how to proceed.  The statistician may delegate the project to another consultant in the center or request involvement from graduate students and/or faculty from the Department of Statistics.  The project plan usually includes additional meetings as necessary as well as communication by email and/or phone.

At the end of the initial meeting, an agreement should be in place for how the project will proceed.  If the statistician requires additional time to reflect on the project, a follow-up initial meeting will be scheduled. An Executive Summary with a Project ID Number will be given to the client at the conclusion of the initial meeting or follow-up initial meeting, or emailed to the client within 5 business days.  Please reference the Project ID Number for all communications with the CSC pertaining to the current project.

No data analysis will be performed until a written statistical analysis plan summarizing the research question/goal, statistical methods, and limitation of the potential results, is agreed upon by both parties.

Scheduling and preparing for the initial meeting

To schedule an initial meeting for a new project, please fill out the initial meeting request form.  To make the initial meeting more productive, the CSC requests the client provide as much detail as possible when describing the project on the form.

During the initial meeting, please be prepared to discuss the following:
  • premise of the research, background, significance
  • research goals
  • measurable objectives
  • hypotheses
  • population of interest
  • design issues
  • data collection/source/format
  • statistical software issues
  • limitations and constraints (timeline, funding, sample size, etc.)
  • other concerns
It is quite normal to not have these topics clearly defined; we can help narrow and define the research in our consultation service.

If available, please bring relevant plots, data, and results pertaining to your research project as well as relevant articles.

What next after the initial meeting?

All future meetings pertaining to the current project will be scheduled between the statistician and client directly either through email or prior arrangements.  A project can span for weeks, months, or even years depending on the scope and stage of the research project.  To understand what is involved in a typical consulting project, please read this short, non-technical article describing statistical consulting in science.

For any new projects different than the current project, please repeat the consultation process by scheduling an initial meeting to receive a new Project ID Number.