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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ Regarding Our Biostatistical Consulting Services And The Analysis Of Clinical Data
- Do I need a biostatistician?
- What is the difference between a statistician & a biostatistician?
- When is the best time to consult a statistician?
- How much prior notice should I give for a project?
- I have already collected my data - is it too late to consult a statistician?
Anyone who is conducting empirical research can benefit from the advice of a good statistician.
As statistics is a particularly specialised and technical field, academic supervisors will often recommend that honours and doctoral research students consult an expert when it comes to their statistical analysis. Similarly, clinicians and specialists in other areas will often save time and enhance the accuracy of their research when the advice of a biostatistician is sought and implemented. This is ever more important in a clinical context where uniform, high quality data is not always in abundance. A good statistician will be able to pick up on finer details pertaining to a statistical analysis, that may be overlooked by scientists and researchers specialising in other disciplines. Recent research shows that over the past 12 years data, including clinical data, has become increasingly complex and the methods available to best address today's research questions have increased in both precision and sophistication. It is therefore crucial to consult a biostatistician with the most up to date analytical techniques for your clinical niche.
A biostatistician is a statistician who has received specialist training in the fields of medical and life sciences. This training usually includes skills important to medicine and public health such as epidemiological techniques and design of randomised controlled trials (Phase I, II and III clinical trials).
Consulting a statistician in the early, planning stages of your research can often save time and money later on. When a study is designed correctly this enables the best possible analysis to be performed that will extract the most out of your valuable data. It can also enable you to structure your study and data collection in such a way as to maximise statistical power.
In the set up stages of your study, a consultant statistician can calculate the optimal power to sample size ratio for your research budget. Knowing the experimental power that will likely be obtained with an intended sample size allows you to adjust sample size up and down depending on individual priorities.
As biostatisticians may be working on multiple projects at a time it is best to contact us for around four weeks prior to your deadline, whether it be for a grand proposal, study design or final analysis. This will ensure we have ample scope to submit to you a draft and apply and adjust according to any feedback or evolving preferences. Shorter tasks such as sample size or power calculation can usually adhere to a much shorter time frame such as a few days - however in case of unforeseen circumstances or busy time periods, four weeks is a safe benchmark for prior notice.
Statistical consulting can be beneficial at almost any stage of the research project. If data has already been collected, ready for analysis, the statistician will test statistical assumptions of the data in order to determine the most appropriate statistical methods to apply for this particular data and the hypotheses being tested (if any). The appropriateness of an analysis is influenced by various factors and often needs to be examined under a careful eye.
If you have any further questions regarding our biostatistical services or clinical data analysis in general please get in touch via our contact page.