Statistics advice

We provide a service for commercial organisations offering advice on how to solve research problems that have a quantitative or analytical element.

Statistics Advice Centre

Problems of a mathematical or statistical nature can arise in research undertaken in any discipline, not just in the traditional physical sciences. Advice can be provided to members from other universities or commercial organisations on a fee paying basis.

Contact us

Make an appointment with the Statistics Advice Centre:

Consultancy charges

As of 1 December 2013, all statistical advice to:

  • External medical researchers is charged at £60 per hour, or £450 per day plus VAT
  • Companies are charged £600 per day plus VAT or £80 per hour plus VAT, with substantial discounts (up to 20 per cent) for projects requiring more than five days of work.

Additional charges are made for travelling time and expenses, should meetings be necessary outside of the University. At the first consultation the total number of hours will be estimated, according to the extent of the required data handling, statistical analyses and report format. An invoice is dispatched upon completion, with payment requested within four weeks.

Note however that assistance is subject to staff availability.

Statistics services we offer

We can offer guidance on the calculation of required sample sizes for proposed research. This is an essential feature of any grant application and is examined rigorously by ethics committees.

The service is able to perform a full range of tasks associated with all aspects of a research project. These include:

  • Quotes for statistical analysis for inclusion in project proposals
  • Statistical advice on required sample sizes
  • Assessment of study protocol and of the possible need for a pilot study
  • Statistical reviews of previous studies and of relevant literature
  • Advice on design of questionnaires/clinical report forms
  • Data collation
  • Construction of data coding schemes
  • Data entry: Advice on the use of an appropriate spreadsheet/database
  • Data validation (checking data for errors)
  • Statistical analyses, including graphical output if required
  • Provision of bespoke statistical software, including documentation.

Whilst the amount of help we can give on some items may be limited (for instance the important issue of sample size is often determined purely by logistical considerations), we are always available for short sessions to offer advice on any of the items above. In particular, a brief review of your questionnaire design may lead to enhancements which will enable a much more incisive statistical analysis after the data have been collected.

We have a range of statistics software at our disposal, ranging from simple epidemiological and graphical products, such as Excel, Epi-Info, CricketGraph and StatView, through to sophisticated statistical packages, such as SAS, SPSS and Minitab.

We also have experience with statistical products such as GLIM, SPLUS, GENSTAT, XLISP-STAT and FORTRAN with NAG routines, and can thus usually accommodate specific software requirements.

Organisations that have made use of our statistical computing service have included pharmaceutical companies, medical research institutes and government agencies.

We offer a clinical trials management service which performs a full range of tasks associated with all aspects of medical research. These include:

  • Quotations for statistical analysis for inclusion in project proposals
  • Statistical advice on required sample sizes
  • Assessment of study protocol and of the possible need for a pilot study
  • Statistical reviews of previous studies and of relevant literature
  • Advice on design of questionnaires/clinical report forms
  • Data collation
  • Construction of data coding schemes
  • Data entry, or advice on the use of an appropriate spreadsheet or database should the client prefer to perform data entry in-house
  • Accessing large computerised databases for data retrieval
  • Data validation.

Work we have undertaken

In addition to clinical trials, we undertake many other types of projects associated with medical statistics. Here are some examples:

A clinical trial to compare the efficacy of two wound dressings: The British subsidiary of a large American pharmaceutical corporation required a comprehensive statistical report on a clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of two different types of wound dressing in the treatment of leg ulcers. Data entry, data validation, and statistical analyses, including graphical displays, were performed.

Software/hardware configuration : SAS on the mainframe, Excel on the PC.

Construction of a push button statistical reporting system was developed to handle efficiently the most common types of analyses required:

Software/hardware configuration: SAS/Windows on the PC.

Simultaneous interrogation of five downloaded data sets: A major research project was undertaken to assess the workload at clinics for sexually transmitted diseases in the light of the AIDS epidemic. A large and complex database was downloaded from a major London clinic's patient administration system. After intensive statistical analysis the most accurate marker of the clinic's increasing workload was identified. The results were published in an appropriate medical journal.

Software/hardware configuration: SPSS on the mainframe, Cricketgraph on the Macintosh.

Resources

There are many good books on statistics, and just as many bad ones. If you are looking for a well written text, below are some suggestions:

Statistics without tears

By Derek Rowntree (Penguin) ISBN9780140136326
A good introduction to statistics for those with a minimal background in mathematics.

Statistics explained

By Perry Hinton (Routledge) ISBN9780415332859
A very good introduction to all of the common statistical techniques.

SPSS survival manual

By Julie Pallant (Open University Press) ISBN9780335261543
Highly popular guide to using SPSS software package for simple statistical tasks.

Specialised branches

And for more specialised branches of statistics:

Practical statistics for medical research

By Douglas Altman (Bookpoint) ISBN9781584880394
Covers all aspects of medical research, with special attention to the requirements for ensuring that papers are publishable.

An introduction to medical statistics, 4th edition

By J Martin Bland (Oxford University Press) ISBN9780199589920
Excellent guide to medical statistics.

Applied regression analysis and other multivariable methods

By Kleinbaum, Kupper and Muller (Cengage) ISBN9780495384984
Excellent text on all aspects of regression analysis, with SAS code.

Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences

By Jacob Cohen, Patricia Cohen, Stephen West and Leona Aiken (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates) ISBN9780805822236
Excellent text on all aspects of regression analysis, with SAS and SPSS code.

Carrying out a research project

Finally, for an excellent general introduction to all aspects of carrying out a research project, including basic statistics:

Research Methods in Psychology, 4th edition

By Glynis Breakwell, Jonathan A. Smith and Daniel Wright (Sage) ISBN9780857022646.

Contact us

Find us

Address
Department of Mathematics
Thomas Telford building (AA), floor 4
University of Surrey
Guildford
Surrey
GU2 7XH