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Free Statistical Consultation: November 2017 call

The Statistics Department offers several types of free statistical consultation, via SOS, STAT 551 and STAT 450/550, as follows.

  • SOS (Statistical Opportunity for Students):  accepted year-round, UBC-V graduate students only, via a team of a senior Statistical consultant and a Statistics graduate student 
  • STAT 551:  accepted for consulting in Term 1 only,  open to anyone, via students in STAT 551 mentored by faculty; may be possible to still squeeze into term 1 2017-18
  • STAT 450/550:  accepted for analysis in Term 2 only, open to anyone, via students in STAT 450/STAT 550 mentored by faculty;   accepting projects for term 2 2017-18 from Nov 9 - Jan 15

One difference among these opportunities is the time commitment from the client and from the Statistics expert. SOS involves the least time—a one-hour meeting with a follow-up one-page report—and has fast turn-around time. STAT 551 students typically spend about a month or two on a project, with about 2 – 4 hours of client face-time. A team of STAT 450 and STAT 550 students work together on one project, spending an entire semester and interacting regularly with the client, either in person or via distance methods like skype.   Another difference among the opportunities is that the client receives advice and a report via STAT 551 and SOS, but does not receive statistical analysis. STAT 450 and STAT 550 students carry out data analysis - so, of course, they will need the data.

I invite you to submit projects and questions to take advantage of these opportunities by sending information to asda [at] (subject: request%20for%20free%20statistics%20consulting) ,  Statistics Department’s Applied Statistics and Data Science Group (formerly called SCARL).  ASDa staff will work with you to determine the correct venue for your consulting.

Where further work is desired, ASDa, the Statistics Department’s Applied Statistics and Data Science Group (formerly called SCARL), has fee-for-service options. Also available is help through the Short Term Consulting Service, run entirely by the graduate students of the Department of Statistics who have completed the course Stat 550, Techniques of Statistical Consulting. For more information, please check:; or; or

If you know others who might be interested in these consultation services, please pass on this information.  

Thanks in advance for submitting interesting and challenging projects—and do read the appended details.


Nancy Heckman

Professor and Head, Department of Statistics



To take advantage of this unique opportunity to receive free statistical advice through STAT 450/STAT 550 or STAT 551 or SOS, please submit the required project description to ASDa by e-mail

asda at stat dot ubc dot ca

(as an attached PDF file), with a subject line clearly indicating either STAT 450/STAT 550 or STAT 551 or SOS. If you don’t know which one to use, just put all of them. We’ll figure it out!

Please note that a graduate student seeking statistical advice needs the permission of his/her supervisor. An e-mail from the supervisor at the time of project submission suffices, with the name of the student and the project clearly indicated.


Your project description should consist of a concise description of your research problem in non-specialist language, with a clear indication of specific statistical issues on which advice is desired. A description of at most one page is preferred. Please only attach supplementary material if it is absolutely essential. For example, sending a grant proposal, together with a cover note saying you want advice on its statistical aspects, without any attempt to describe the research problem in terms that can be understood by a Statistics graduate student or to clarify what specific statistical issues are of concern, is not an appropriate submission.

Sample project descriptions can be found at


As part of our ongoing efforts to bring current research into the classroom and promote interdisciplinary collaborations, the students enrolled in STAT 450 (Case Studies in Statistics) will provide free statistical analyses in Term 2 of each academic year. In addition, a group of graduate students enrolled in STAT 550 (Techniques of Statistical Consulting) will mentor and supervise a group of STAT 450 students, and peer-review their analyses and report. The students will be carrying out this academic activity under the co-supervision of Gabriela Cohen Freue (instructor of STAT 450 and STAT 550). The data will be treated with confidentiality within the courses and may be re-used in these courses on other years, with your permission.

Research projects from all UBC and non-UBC units and all levels of researchers (but particularly UBC undergraduate and graduate students) are welcome. We prioritize well-focused projects with one or two specific questions to be addressed using already collected data.

Throughout the academic term, STAT 450 students will identify appropriate approaches to the analysis, carry these out, provide a report interpreting their results, and prepare a poster to summarize their work. STAT 550 students will mentor, supervise, and review undergraduate students’ work. STAT 550 will also provide a short report with an extended analysis of your data.

To give the students the opportunity to practice and enhance their communication skills, we require a representative of your project to meet with the STAT 450 class 3 times to describe your research project in more detail, to answer questions the students may have in the course of their work, and/or to provide feedback on preliminary results. We expect that this will, to your advantage, result in a better final product.

Once your project is approved for STAT 450, you will need to provide the data set as an .xls, .txt, or .csv, with all the variables, including units and coding where relevant, clearly identified. The data will be treated with confidentiality within the course. If you are a student, your supervisor needs to provide written approval of your participation and data sharing with STAT 450/550.


Students in the consulting practicum, STAT 551, provide free consultation involving 2 – 4 hours of face-time with the client and also provide a written report containing detailed advice and recommendations. STAT 551 is offered in Term 1 each academic year. Students in this course have already completed STAT 550 (Techniques of Statistical Consulting), and will be undertaking this academic activity under the overall supervision of a department faculty member.

Projects from all UBC and non-UBC units and all levels of researchers, particularly graduate students, are welcome. Research projects requiring primarily advice on appropriate designs and methods of statistical analysis are ideally suited for STAT 551. To allow each 551 student to be exposed to several projects, the total time spent on each project has to be limited. Thus, smaller projects are particularly suitable.  

As soon as your project is approved, your description will be added to the list from which students will select projects. Thus it is to your advantage to submit a clear description as soon as possible. Students will begin selecting projects at the start of the fall term. The clearer your description, the more likely students are to select your project sooner rather than later and the more productive the initial consultation session is likely to be. Once your project has been selected, the student will contact you to arrange an appointment for an initial consultation session. If, at any time prior to being contacted, you no longer require advice on your project, please let ASDa know so the students do not spend time preparing for "inactive" projects.


SOS runs year-round and involves a one-hour meeting with a senior consultant and a Statistics student, with the client receiving a one page report, with relatively short turn-around time.  Clients must be UBC-V graduate students.

SOS is funded by the UBC Office of the Provost and Vice President, Research and International.

See for more information.

July 20, 2017