What Makes a Good Research Consultant?

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Statistical and research consulting is defined as the collaboration of a statistician or methodologist with another professional for devising solutions to research problems. An in-depth, interview qualitative approach was taken to answer the research question of what makes a good research consultant. The authors interviewed four faculty members in the field of statistics and research methods and two experienced graduate student consultants. In-depth, face-to-face interviews revealed common themes regarding consultancy skills, resourcefulness, communication and interpersonal skills. The participants discussed how to improve consulting sessions and deal with clients with different statistics levels and backgrounds. Participants felt there was no difference in how they approached a qualitative vs. quantitative consulting session. Finally, all the participants stated that the training of graduate student consultants can be improved by project-based coursework.


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