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The Statistics Clinic

Our Aim

The Statistical Laboratory offers a free, walk-in statistical consulting service to all members of the broader research community within the University of Cambridge (and its affiliated institutes and hospitals) through our clinic. Our idea is to keep the threshold to participation as low as possible: everyone is invited to attend, regardless of their fields and statistical skills. Our services range from statistical advice to new methodology development. We will also be very interested in discussing potential academic collaborations and possible joint projects with our clients.

Students taking statistics courses should understand that this is NOT a teaching/supervision service.

We sincerely hope that our service will help you make progress in your research. We also hope that sometimes our discussion might evolve into genuine scientific collaboration, but in many cases a small acknowledgement in your paper of our assistance will be fine.

How to Participate (currently remote consultations ONLY)

Our clinic operate on an informal walk-in system, so no advance appointment is needed. You may arrive any time during our open hours (but preferrably earlier if you want to have a more thorough discussion with our helpers). You will need to fill in a sign-up sheet upon arrival. Clients are then served in order of their arrival on the clinic day. We will match returning clients to a helper they have spoken before if possible.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently providing remote consultations ONLY. You can find all arranged future sessions here. You will find a registration link in each listed session. (Note that the registration will be open for each session about 10 days before the session takes place.) You will need to provide your name, email address, Skype ID in the registration form. We only use your personal information to get in touch and confirm booking. You will also need to provide a brief description of your problem, keywords, software you are using, etc. This will help us assign a suitable helper according to your request. Please be patient if you have not heard from us since you registration, as we usually send out confirmation/waitlist emails on the morning of the clinic session. Remote consultations will be carried out over Skype or Zoom.

It is often helpful to bring a laptop to the clinic with you, especially if you need to present data, codes and/or outputs to the helper.

Each consultation will usually last 30-60 minutes and consist of the following steps:

  1. You will be first asked to briefly describe your project to your helper. Some clients prefer to use slides to introduce the background, but this is not necessary. You will also be asked to show the data (if any) so that our helper can get a better understanding of the task. Please have the data file and a summary of your data ready on the laptop.
  2. Your helper will discuss with you the questions you bring along. Please have a list of questions ready (in a text file or written down on a paper).
  3. You should aim to wrap up your discussion before the end of the clinic session. Discuss with your helper if you would like to return to the next clinic session, or you want this to evolve into a genuine academic collaboration, or you would like to find a more specialised expert.

If you know your work requires expertise knowledge in a particular area of statistics, please also let us know in advance and we will accommodate your need as best as we can. You may find our areas of expertise here.

Our Services

Here is the scope of services we provide:

Advice

  • Help our clients understand how to formulate their problems in a more precise and abstract way.
  • Point our clients to books, papers and software packages that might help them with their work.

Analysis

  • Apply appropriate statistical tools to highlight the most useful information from the data. 
  • Help our clients analyse the results they have obtained and interpret them in context.

Research

  • Show our clients novel, cutting edge methods that may be used to understand data better, make more precise predictions and test hypotheses more reliably.
  • Get our clients in contact with other researchers in Cambridge and beyond, who specialise in their particular type of problem.