How do I make the most of my time?

Below are a few tips for making the most of your time with our statistical collaborators:

1. Know your project and have thought about ways to explain it to individuals outside of your major field of study.

2. Send informative project information to your collaborators before the first meeting.

a. When sending technical papers, please consider whether or not people outside of your field will be able to understand them.

3. If you already have data, try to have this data cleaned before coming to the first meeting.

a. Verify that all data is inputted correctly.

b. Visually scan the data for things that appear out of place – are certain values really outliers or was the value entered incorrectly?

c. Consider what missing values mean and be prepared to explain this to your collaborators.

i. Does a 0 mean that there was no measured value? Or does it really mean no data were collected?

1. If no data were collected, is there a specific reason for this? Is the lack of data somehow informative?

4. Be prepared and on time for your meeting.

a. If your scheduled meeting is from 1:00-2:00pm and you arrive at 1:15, you should still expect your meeting to end at 2:00pm.

b. Be sure you bring relevant information and data to your meetings.

c. If you have preformed any preliminary data analysis, bring it to the first meeting.

d. It can often be extremely beneficial to simply plot your data before performing any statistical analysis. This allows you to visually see any trends and catch any outliers.

e. Be prepared to explain your project, especially your overall research goals, specific scientific questions, experimental design, and what your data are.

5. If at any point during a meeting you do not understand something the collaborator has explained or asked, ask them to clarify.

6. At the end of a meeting, there will be a discussion about what the next steps in the project are.

a. If it is agreed that you will send additional information or update your data, please do so as soon as you can. This will ensure that both you and the collaborators are prepared for your next meeting.