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The Ohio State University
Center for Biostatistics

Home > About Us > Expectations of Biostatistical Collaboration and Support

Expectations of Biostatistical Collaboration and Support

What to expect from our biostatisticians:

Collaboration with a biostatistician typically provides higher quality reliable results that stand up to critical peer review.  We identify and address issues that are not always obvious to investigators.  Our goal is not only to ensure statistical rigor and appropriateness, but also to make sure that the results are understandable to the investigator.

Biostatisticians vary in their areas of expertise.  Some focus on clinical trial design, analysis and oversight, while others concentrate on observational study methods, laboratory experimental design and analysis, or high dimensional studies (microarray, sequence data, etc.).

Prior to the start of the project:

It is critical to involve our biostatisticians at the very beginning of your project.   Issues relating to sample size and power, design efficiencies, nuisance variables, randomization, blinding, intervention strategies, time lines, data collection and management should be addressed in the planning stage.


Initial visit:

During this initial meeting the background and scope of the project are queried.  It is also very important that the type and level of statistical support be established: through a paid grant, an internal contract (MOU) or external contract, or direct hourly billing.  Usually there is not enough time during this initial meeting to work out all of the project details, but enough information should be presented so that a reasonable level of support can be estimated, and the appropriate team of biostatisticians can be identified.

Please contact us if you are interested in setting up an initial meeting.


Expectations and responsibilities of the investigator:

Often, investigators will have very clear ideas about the analysis of their project.  However, we ask that all investigators coming for biostatistical support be willing to listen to alternatives.   We may suggest more appropriate statistical designs to address the stated hypotheses.  Collaboration is at its highest when there is good communication between the biostatistician and the investigator.  The biostatistician needs an accurate description of the project and how the data were generated, addressing such problems as data management and collection, missing values, protocol deviations, and endpoint definitions. 

Any manuscripts or reports generated from this project should acknowledge the participation of the biostatistician as a co-author if he/she has made a significant contribution to the project.  However, the biostatistician should not be associated with the research without his/her consent.


Role of the biostatistician after the data are collected:

Although it is preferable to have our biostatisticians involved in projects from the beginning, many times the investigator will contact the biostatistician after the data have been collected.  In these cases, we will suggest statistical methods based on how the project was designed and how the data were collected.  Often, a more appropriate method of analysis will be recommended if the investigator has already run preliminary analyses.  Our biostatisticians can also recommend methods that will be able to extract useful information from problematic data.  We also analyze data to provide information on future efficient and less biased designs.