I'm in the process of designing a quantitative study and I'm wondering once the results come in, is it OK to get a statistician to perform the actual tests? I'm new to quantitative research and SPSS, and wondering whether this might be an option? Has anyone done that? Is it OK for the thesis to do that?
I'm not sure I would feel 100% confident in reporting my results if the calculations haven't been at the very least checked by a quantitative researcher/statistician. My supervisor is not a quantitative researcher.
There may be different regulations at different universities and it may also depend on the focus of your thesis/your discipline. However, if you have any intention of working with quantitative data in the future, I would have the mindset of seeking help with the analysis, rather than handing it over to someone else entirely, as it will be harder for you to learn otherwise.
To reiterate what HazyJane is saying, if you're going to do a quantitative study then you need to know how you're going to analyse the data prior to collecting it - you can quite easily end up in a situation where you've collected loads of data but there is no appropriate statistical test/method for analysis.
You need to refine your research question in terms of the types of statistics you are going to be doing - are you looking at inferential statistical tests looking at comparing the differences between groups in response to some independent variable? Or are you looking at the relationship between variables where correlation or regression analysis might be more suitable?
You definitely, 100%, absolutely, never want to be in a situation where you are collecting data without knowing what you're doing with the analysis. Otherwise you can easily end up either not being able to do the analysis at all, or in some sort of fishing exercise.
I would think this is not acceptable. At PhD level you can't farm bits out to consultants - it's a basis requirement that the thesis should be all your own work, so you need to acquire the necessary skills without cutting corners. By all means seek advice from more experienced colleagues but you personally need to be in a position to defend your calculations and why they were used during the viva.
Well I think your thesis should be your own work, but sometimes others contribute to it, and as long as it's not the main component of your thesis, I think it's ok. I've seen theses where people have said 'someone provided x and I did y', so I think it's ok as long as you state your contribution and it's substantial.
I would very much doubt you'd get a statistician to agree to this! As part of the PhD you need to learn how to conduct research, so acquiring these skills is vital. There should be courses for training in SPSS. My supervisor didn't know about the particular techniques I was employing - it will often be the case you need to ask for help from other people.
The group I am working in outsources things like sequencing/mass spec and bioinformatics. We, the phD students, do the data interpretation (and sample collection beforehand) and subsequent experiments.. and we have no problem arguing that our work is not our own. After all we planned and did the experiments that created the samples and we interpret the results.
Most of us have basic knowledge about bioinformatics, but we can't compete knowledge wise with somebody really skilled at it. So yeah, I agree, basic statistic knowledge would be preferable for the OP, but I would nonetheless consult a statistican. SPSS is more or less easy to handle, but study design is very tricky and as long as you have no ideas about group sizing, matching of subjects, data collection or how to handle confounders I would highly advise seeking help from somebody skilled at it.
If you are unlucky, you have some flaws in your design and will get into trouble in a later stage of the project.
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