Peerwith connects researchers with with peers who are experts in researcher services. These service go well beyond language and editing. There are also experts on Peerwith that provide services in for example Data and statistics. Today we introduce you to Tomoe Gusberti, expert in that field. We asked Tomoe to express her perceptions on the current research panorama, positioning the value of statistic and data analysis services in the collaborative peer-to-peer model unique for Peerwith.
Considerations in preparing your request
Good communication from the beginning is a key when you are looking for an expert to collaborate with you in analyzing your data, or designing/planning your decision making/research project.
For statistical analysis:
- State your knowledge field: all process in analyzing and interpreting data is transdisciplinary. The derivation of biostatistics, econometrics, industrial engineering from statistics trace back to over 7 decades is also described as being more than a century ago26–30. You can prefer collaborate with an expert with both statistics and your knowledge field (or at least close to) as better suited…. There are differences in the approaches for each knowledge field. And, it can have exceptions, but even having a statistical background, if your research is in the business or economics field, a biostatistician, although suited to make strong discussions in epidemiology field, will struggle in offering a transdisciplinary discussion about RBV, TCE, Game Theory, strategy and so on…
- It is a good practice to mention the research objectives, the study design and the analytical approach to ease the communication by enabling the expert to estimate how big and complex is the task to analyse your data.
- If you have not a formalized research design? Or you got a “reject” because methodological issues and need a new approach? Well… this is not ideal, but happens… and unfortunately somewhat frequent… but it is a subject for “research design” … I just can say… you can describe your research objectives and hypothesis to enable the expert to speculate a little what can be done. I say speculate because, it is usually only possible to know exactly just after making some previous analysis, as, for example, checking if there is a match with the assumptions of the method…
For research design:
- If you have preferred methodological approach (qualitative x quantitative), state it. The differences in the conduction of the research approaches can be considered significant, in they are often said they require different mindsets and are called paradigms 7–10. Tendencies to mixed methodologies show it is not recommendable to a research group in some fields to restrain their research designs in one paradigm. But perhaps it is less likely to concretize research designs not aligned with your mindset10.
- State your knowledge field and research problem and your theoretical/conceptual framework, as possibly you will benefit from the approaches commonly explored in your field.
How to take the most from the collaboration to plan a research design?
The good research design will emerge from all these complex discussions:
- Let the interaction with the expert be a transdisciplinary discussion.
- Make discussions question the expert about your doubts;
- Learn, listen/read the critics and pitfalls about the literature already collected. It can be a gap in the literature, a possibility of a different perspective, or a requirement for further review. But this will define the potential contribution of the resultant paper.
- The designing a research plan is a creative process in joining the ideal best approach and the practical ones.
- Be clear about the limitations in collecting the data and other practicalities, but be open for suggestions and recommendations.
- It makes little sense get a research plan you cannot execute, but execute a non-relevant, non-valid, non-reliable research also makes little sense…
- Finding the match between the theoretical best approach and practicalities can generate further limitations for the research project. It can sound a little unpleasant sometimes, but knowing research limitations and bias enables to make pondered considerations.
Those pondered considerations are an actual important task in research and decision making
The analytical plan in guaranteed? Creativity and flexibility in research
The research is a kind of project which deals with uncertainty, as it does not comprise a repetitive task. And the details of the problem can unfold as project progress…
The creativity is not just on selecting (the conjoint of complementary) methods. Creativity and flexibility are required in all process. In conducting the analysis in the collected data, the researcher must be aware that modification in the analytical plan can be needed. For example:
- The target sampling plan can show not practical… sometimes the return rate and profile are not obtained exactly as planned…
- Evidence can emerge disclosing the assumptions about population data not available previously are wrong…
- The method assumptions can show be violated