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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Getting Help With Statistics

Many social sciences are dominated by quantitative researchers. Because of that, many doctoral students are pushed to do quantitative research for their dissertation. Unfortunately, doing statistical analysis is very hard for many students who go into social sciences. Moreover, your adviser may not be able to help you with stats. He may be too busy or may not have knowledge in the specific techniques that you end up using for your dissertation.

So if you are left alone with your statistical problems, you have several options:

  1. Trying figure everything out on your own. The disadvantage of this approach is that you are likely to waste a lot of time and make a lot of mistakes. But the advantage is that you may end up being an expert yourself. It may be beneficial for your career in the long run.
  2. There are a bunch of online forums where people talk about their statistics problems. Usually, those forums are also visited by people who have advanced degrees in statistics. These people may know more about stats than any of your advisers. But the disadvantage of this option is that there's no guarantee that someone will actually help you. It's all volunteer-based. And, of course, you can never be sure in the quality of the advice that you are getting. Me personally, I was able to figure out quite a few things by talking to people on one of those statistical forums.
  3. Your school may have a special unit providing consulting services in statistics. I don't know whether those services are free or not.
  4. I saw many web sites advertising consulting services in statistics. I've never tried those. I suspect that at least some of those companies are probably based somewhere in India. May be worth trying...


  1. I eat tuna every day and that's all I need!!

  2. Stats sure was, is and will be scary. But there are books that can help. Initially I had resisted going through Andy Field's book on understanding stats using SPSS. Much later realized what a blessing it was.Will surely do a lot of good for ppl like me who freeze on the very mention of the word statistics