SRU plans Statistical Consulting Center to assist University researchers
Slippery Rock University’s Mathematics and Science Department is developing a Statistical Consulting Center, which is scheduled for a soft launch in February, that will offer services to assist SRU faculty and students conducting research.
Dec. 6, 2018
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's Mathematics and Science Department is creating a Statistical Consulting Center to assist SRU faculty and students, and potentially the community, with statistical training and advice with research projects that involve quantitative analysis.
The Center's staff of four SRU mathematics and statistics faculty members and one student worker will collaborate with faculty, students and other clients in a meeting space in Vincent Science Center. The SCC is intended to improve the quality of statistical research performed across all University departments and provide statistical training for students.
"A lot of our faculty have been asking for help with the statistical analysis part of their research projects throughout the years," said Dil Singhabahu, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, and director of the SCC. "They have all these numbers and they don't know how to properly analyze the data, or they have the knowledge and the software skills to do the work, but they're just not sure if what they are doing is right. Our primary goal is to provide advice and then have the faculty do the work. Having a center formalizes the process."
SCC organizers have set a soft launch for Feb. 11, 2019, when faculty and students will be able to submit a consultation request form and schedule a meeting. Services offered include experiment and survey design, data analysis with statistical software, identification of appropriate statistical methodology and assistance interpreting statistical results. The SCC consultants will not provide independent research, data entry and transcription or student tutoring, but they will advise faculty and students on the research process.
Other mathematics and statistics faculty making up the SSC staff include Woosuk Kim, assistant professor, assistant director; Amanda Goodrick, instructor, research coordinator; and Danielle Dumbeck, instructor, program coordinator.
Singhabahu has already provided statistical consultation to SRU colleagues since she joined the University in 2013, handling at least one project per semester. She and her staff will evaluate the volume of projects and resources needed after the soft launch before the SCC's full launch in fall 2019. Pending availability, the services will be offered to students conducting capstone or graduate-level research projects. Singhabahu will also explore the possibility of offering consultation services to community members, such as small businesses that don't have the resources to hire a statistician or an analytics consulting firm.
Betsy Kemeny, assistant professor of parks, conservation and recreational therapy, has worked with Singhabahu to analyze data from her research to compare the effectiveness of therapeutic horseback riding with traditional stress management techniques. Kemeny spent more than one year alongside her co-researchers collecting data that featured thousands of variables based on the heart rate variability and salivary cortisol levels in adolescents on the autism spectrum who participated in equine-assisted therapy at SRU's Storm Harbor Equestrian Center.
"(Singhabahu) does a great job of listening and, coming from different disciplines, she understands what we're trying to accomplish as a research team," said Kemeny, who wrote Singhabahu's role as a statistician into the grant she received for the research project. "Faculty have statistical abilities, but when they have a lot of variables and data, (Singhabahu's) experience with big data and trend data is invaluable."
The SCC consultants will not receive compensation, but their potential intellectual contributions to published works will warrant co-authorship, and if the consultation results in funded research or if a grant proposal needs ongoing statistical support, then a financial contribution is warranted through the grant.
For more information about the Statistical Consulting Center, contact Singhabahu at 724.738.2521.
MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 | firstname.lastname@example.org