What should I expect to happen at the first meeting?

Before the initial meeting, the statistical collaborators review the client's collaboration request form and any additional information they have sent them. We have found that the most successful collaborations occur if the client sees a statistical collaborator before they start collecting data. If the client already has collected data, the collaborators often find it useful to quickly review the data to get an idea of what will be discussed during the first meeting. So we encourage clients to send a copy of their data to the collaborators before the initial meeting.

Collaboration meetings typically begin with the collaborators asking the client what they would like to accomplish during the time available for the meeting. This sets the agenda for the meeting. The collaborators will also ask about your overall research goals to get a better sense of how to help you answer your specific research questions. They want to know what the big picture is: why are you completing this research and what will the results be used for. After looking at the big picture, the collaborators will ask about your specific project. They will want to know exactly how your experiment was designed and executed, what your variables and data are, and what you are most interested in finding out from that data. Having a detailed understanding of the why and how of your project allows the collaborators to decide what is the most appropriate statistical method to use to answer your research questions.

At the end of the meeting, the collaborators will summarize what happened during the meeting including any decisions that were made.

The next steps for the project will be discussed. Sometimes, follow-up meetings are scheduled.