Tuesday, 4 April 2017

What's the Statistics Consultancy Research Platform? (Xia Li)

The consultancy offers statistical advice about research methods, experimental design and data analysis to improve the quality and impact of research outcomes. Services are available to La Trobe researchers and graduate research students across all campuses, as well as external organisations.

In this week’s blog, Xia Li (Statistics Consultant) shares with us some of her work on the platform, and the experiences of a researcher and student she assisted.

The RED Alert will feature posts on the experiences of each of the new research platforms over the coming weeks. These have been created to bring together capabilities, expertise and technology from across the university under defined structures to enhance how La Trobe researchers do their work, so we hope you enjoy learning about them.

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As the Statistics Consultant, I’m supported by a team of statisticians: Dr Leila Karimi, Dr Graeme Byrne, Dr Jerry Lai, and Dr Masha Fridman.

Our aim is to raise the quality of research by providing advice on experimental design prior to the conduct of research, as well as the analysis of data, so that more of the results are publishable.

We have experience in a broad range of statistical methodologies, and offer support across all disciplines of research.

Since the launch of our platform in September 2016, we’ve assisted researchers and students across nine schools.

Here's a breakdown of what we can do for you:

If you're a graduate researcher, our platform provides 5 hours of statistical support to assist you with your projects and thesis. This may include advice on study design, power and sample size calculation, data analysis, statistical modelling, result visualisation, manuscript review, statistical software operation, and much more.

It's great that graduate researchers can access strong statistical support as it's essential where research projects involve statistical analysis, and for which students might not be adequately trained. This is where the Statistics Consultancy Platform can really help.

Recently, I’ve been supporting PhD candidate Diana Navarro Perez (Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Microbiology) to use statistics software and to choose an appropriate statistics methodology to analyse the data collected for her projects. With the support of the platform, Diana can now clarify the main focus of her research in relation to the data she has collected, enabling her to run appropriate analyses, such as group comparison, multiple linear regression and mixed models with repeated measures. I'm sure Diana will publish many papers in the near future!

If you're a researcher, our platform supports you with project work, grant applications, and research papers. This may involve analysis of statistical data, advice on data collection methods, guidance on survey or study design, grant review, and help with ethics approvals or in communicating findings.

With the support of the platform, Dr Premnadh Kurup (Department of Education) completed the study ‘Future Primary Teachers’ Beliefs, Understandings and Intentions to Teach STEM’. The study examined beliefs, understandings and intentions on teaching using five questions (each on a 5-point Likert scale) to identify the general background of pre-service teachers in relation to STEM. A partial least squares estimation-based structural equation model was used to examine the relationship. Prem presented his findings in a conference paper at the IAFOR International Conference on Education in Hawaii (2017). The paper was also submitted to the IAFOR Journal of Education in February 2017 for publication. Dr Kurup described working with the platform as “a good and productive experience and collaboration”.

We will also offer training and workshops in statistical methods and software. At the moment, we’re developing a course in Excel for researchers and an online introductory statistics course. Please check the Training page on our website around April-May to register.

The platform has also set up a community of practice to encourage collaboration and to share ideas among researchers. Please join our statistics network by emailing Statistics.Consultancy@latrobe.edu.au

For further information and to book a consultation, please refer to the website latrobe.edu.au/statistics, or email Statistics.Consultancy@latrobe.edu.au.

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Xia Li was educated at the School of Statistics, Renmin University of China, being awarded her PhD in 2010. 

She was then appointed Lecturer in Medical Statistics at the School of Public Health and Family Medicine at the Capital Medical University, China. Xia then became a Senior Statistics Post-Doctoral Researcher and Research Fellow at University College Cork, Ireland. 

Xia has also been a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the University of California - Berkeley, and Edith Cowan University.

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