Statistical Consulting Service

Purpose

Provide statistical advice to:

  • Higher Degree by Research students
  • Academics and other researchers in the University
  • Outside clients

Advice will mostly be on a one-to-one, consultancy basis rather than some form of teaching. 

The Service is not able to help with Honours projects or coursework.

What does advice cost?

Advice is free to HDR students.  If demand becomes too great then some form of rationing system may be needed in the future.

In principle, other University researchers will have to pay for advice, at a rate less than the full commercial rate.  This is negotiable and will depend on the nature of the work and other factors.

Clients outside the University will have to pay a realistic commercial rate.  These rates will be negotiated.

When should I seek advice?

It is best to start seeking advice in the planning stage of a project, that is, before you have collected any data. 

Otherwise, at any stage it can be useful.   Situations that might be triggers for seeking advice include:

  • you feel sure there must be something better than what you are doing with your data but do not know what it is;
  • you suspect you may be using methods which are not appropriate to the data you have;
  • a referee has found fault with the statistics in your paper or grant application;
  • you do not understand the results you are getting or the methods you think you ought to be using;
  • you intend to apply for a research grant and want to cost the statistical analysis that will be needed.

Please remember too that “statistics” is about more than just numbers: data comes in many forms and there are many ways in which statistical methods can help.

What do I do to get help?

Arrange an appointment with Alun Pope, by email (alun.pope@sydney.edu.au) or telephone (02) 8627 0876. 

If you are a student, your supervisor needs to be aware of the consultation.  Supervisors are always welcome to come along too.

Background and future plans

The Service is in its infancy.  This means current policies will change over time, as the level of demand becomes clear, and how that demand is distributed across discipline areas, types of client and the type of work.

It is expected that demand will increase and more staff will be recruited.

At present, the only member of the team is Alun Pope, so here is a little background about him:

About Alun Pope

My qualifications include a PhD in mathematics and an MSc in statistics.  I am an Accredited Statistician (AStat) and have been Chair of the Accreditation Committee of the Statistical Society of Australia. 

I have been an academic (at University of Newcastle and UNSW), have worked in the public sector and in the private sector.  I have provided consulting on a wide range of topics, either as part of my job or as a private consultant.  Some examples are: spatial distribution of risk on firing ranges, customer satisfaction surveys, clinical trials, success rates in IVF, forecasting property prices, reliability of complex engineering systems.