Many of my clients have reported to me that their advisor recommended they hire a statistician to help with their dissertation. I am curious to know how many of you out there have had this happen. In my view, statistical consulting benefits both the doctoral student and the mentor. Often times the mentor has limited experience with statistics.
When I am asked this question, I like to respond with the following analogy. Surgeons do not usually perform their own anesthesia, because anesthesia is a highly technical and specialized field, and the surgeon would prefer to leave that to an expert. By analogy, most researchers do not perform their own statistical analyses, because statistics is a highly technical and specialized field, and they would prefer to leave the statistics to an expert. So, if writing a dissertation is about learning how to do research, then by working with a statistician, you are gaining real-world experience in how to do research. Continue reading