Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the Consultants?
Consultants are the staff (Consulting Assistants) of the SCC and the faculty members of the CANR Biometry Group. Because of a tier system with respect to consulting responsibilities, the majority of consulting is mentored by Dr. Sasha Kravchenko, Dept of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, and Dr. Robert J. Tempelman, Dept of Animal Science. Other faculty members are involved into the activities of the SCC based on their particular expertise. Although you can request to consult with a particular faculty member, individual project assignments to SCC staff and faculty are at the discretion of the CANR Biometry Group.
Is there a Fee?
There is currently no fee for statistical services by the SCC.
When Should I Contact the SCC?
If you are in the planning process of a study, an experimental design, or a survey, it is recommended to consult with the SCC as early as possible. It is a myth that nifty statistical methods can uncover sophisticated conclusions from poorly designed studies and inappropriately collected data. The damage done by not observing statistical principles of research design and analysis is usually irreversible and permanent. Thus, the general rule is the earlier the better.
Who Can Use Center Services?
The primary user group of the SCC are faculty and associates of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University and faculty and associates with Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station appointments.
Where can I go if I am not in the primary user group?
Statistical consulting services are also available through the Center for Statistical Training and Consulting (CSTAT), MSU.
What should I bring to the first session?
If you seek advice on experimental design or planning a survey prior to data gathering, bring a clear idea of the research goals and objectives. For example, hypotheses to be tested, research questions to be answered.
If help is sought on data analysis after data collection, bring in addition a copy of the data gathering protocol, a printout of the data and the results of analyses already performed. As a printout of the data a few typical observations are usually sufficient. The variable and observation structure of the data should be clearly discernible from the printout. Complete printouts of lengthy data sets are not required. Bringing the data on disk alone is not a substitute for the printout. The SCC will not produce the necessary printouts for you.
In case of analyses already performed, both input and output statements are an important source of information. If you struggle with a particular software package also produce printouts of log files which indicate error messages.
What if there are follow-up questions?
Follow-up questions are very common. Also, often it is not possible to address all initial questions in a single consulting session. The length of a session should not exceed 30 to 45 minutes for maximum efficiency. Repeat sessions may continue over weeks or months. If you see the SCC for a repeat session, bring documentation pertaining to previous sessions and your project number.