Statistical and research consulting is defined as the collaboration of a statistician or methodologist with another professional for devising solutions to research problems. An in-depth, interview qualitative approach was taken to answer the research question of what makes a good research consultant. The authors interviewed four faculty members in the field of statistics and research methods and two experienced graduate student consultants. In-depth, face-to-face interviews revealed common themes regarding consultancy skills, resourcefulness, communication and interpersonal skills. The participants discussed how to improve consulting sessions and deal with clients with different statistics levels and backgrounds. Participants felt there was no difference in how they approached a qualitative vs. quantitative consulting session. Finally, all the participants stated that the training of graduate student consultants can be improved by project-based coursework.


Statistical Consulting, Research Consulting, Graduate Education, Statistics Education, Academic Consulting, Consulting Center, In-Depth Interview, Qualitative Study

Author Bio(s)

Justin Harding has a master’s degree in Applied Statistics and is a doctoral student in the Applied Statistics and Research Methods program at the University of Northern Colorado. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: justin.harding@unco.edu.

Samantha Estrada has a PhD in Applied Statistics and Research Methods. She teaches undergraduate courses in statistics and research methods to psychology students. Recent publications include Air Medical Journal (2019) and the Journal of Applied Measurement (2018) and an appendix in the book Ethics for Social Science Research: Becoming Culturally Responsive (2017). Her research interests include statistics education, survey development and measurement. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Samantha Estrada samantha.estr@gmail.com.

Michael Floren, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor for the statistics program at Misericordia University. He has recently served as a consultant on projects in medicine, education, psychology, and public health. He is currently developing a student-driven statistical consulting center to serve the university and local community. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Michael Floren mfloren@misericordia.edu.

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