Stat Overflow: The Stat59 Blog

Stat Overflow is aimed at researchers who are looking for practical and easily implementable statistical tips to enhance the quality of their research.

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RATIOS: The Responsibility Assignment Matrix for Research Projects

July 27, 2023, 4:47 a.m., by Cam Franchuk

Research projects often feel like liquids, where the team expands to fill the available space. Sometimes having a large team to work with can be a great advantage. However, large teams require an additional level of effort to manage.

We are big fans of the Amazon Two-Pizza … more


Analyzing Likert Scale Items as a Group

Aug. 17, 2022, 2:25 p.m., by Jeffrey Franc

Ally Bullifent, a user experience researcher, recently contacted us to clarify how to analyze Likert scale data. She was questioning how to group a set of Likert scale questions to facilitate analysis.

Despite my own reservations about Likert scales (I rarely use them), Likert scales remain very … more


Design the Perfect Simulation Research Study in 6 Easy Steps

March 8, 2022, 11:18 a.m., by Jeffrey Franc

As a statistical advisor, I am often asked to assist in the development of simulation-based research studies. Usually, the researcher is very excited about a new simulation they have developed, and wants to do a research study to show how awesome it is. However, simulation research studies have some … more


Using the Research Study Design Canvas: 9 Steps from Idea to Protocol

Aug. 5, 2021, 8 a.m., by Jeffrey Franc

Are you looking for an intuitive, social, and fun way to design a research project? Design canvases are a great way to develop a team-based and fluid plan. Thanks to Alexander Osterwalder who is credited with the inception of the Business Model Canvas in 2005, we now have a … more


How to Run a Focus Group for a Delphi Study or Survey

July 2, 2021, 12:57 p.m., by Jeffrey Franc

Does the thought of moderating your first focus group make you anxious? Or, have you moderated focus groups in the past and are looking for a way to upgrade your technique? Maybe you are considering a focus group for your research project and don't know where to start?



Translate A Survey in Six Easy Steps

June 10, 2021, 7:34 p.m., by Jeffrey Franc

Those of us who do research in more than one language are often at a crossroad when we find the right survey tool in the wrong language. Should we translate the tool to the language we need? Or, is it better to just create our own tool? Whether you … more


Five Axioms for Writing Powerful Delphi Statements

May 13, 2021, 9:41 a.m., by Jeffrey Franc

The most critical skill for creating a high-impact Delphi study is the ability to write powerful statements. Taking a few moments to learn how to write statements correctly will save hours of time and can increase the quality of your research remarkably. It can also save your project from … more


Four Steps to the Perfect Correlation Coefficient

April 6, 2021, 9:22 a.m., by Jeffrey Franc

Whether you are a scientist, innovator, software engineer, or any other species of researcher, "Our study shows a strong correlation between this and that," is one of the most sought after statistical conclusions. Often the entire purpose of the research project is to show that two variables are related … more


Six Tips for Better Research Ethics

March 22, 2021, 8:30 a.m., by Jeffrey Franc

Mention the word ethics to a researcher, and it is quite probable that you will hear a groan, or at least get a raised eyebrow. For many researchers, ethics has become an unwelcome obstacle that appears to rise from nowhere and stands between the researcher and the research. Sadly, … more


Five Elements of U/X and Research Design

March 7, 2021, midnight, by Jeffrey Franc

What can researchers and scientists learn from U/X designers? Are the basic principles of User Experience design the same as the basic principles of designing a research project?

Consider the story of two (fictitious) experts in the field of U/X design and engineering research.

Amiyah … more


Five Must-Follow Recommendations for Systematic Reviewers

Feb. 14, 2021, noon, by Jeffrey Franc

Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are optimal ways to amalgamate data from many studies and translate them into usable knowledge. And the number of published systematic reviews has increased by an order of magnitude over the past decade. However, systematic reviews are vitally dependent on the quality of work done … more


Mental Fitness for Researchers: 8 Tips for 2021

Jan. 27, 2021, 12:01 a.m., by Jeffrey Franc

What will it be like to be a researcher in 2021? 2020 certainly brought a huge number of changes for all of us, and 2021 promises to do the same. As the first month of 2021 is coming to a close, how are we as researchers to cope with … more


Five Awesome Randomized Designs for Your Next Research Project

Jan. 3, 2021, 8 a.m., by Jeffrey Franc

Whether you are assessing the effect of a new fertilizer on crop yields, the safety of a new drug, the influence of a teaching intervention on test scores, or the effect of smart home technology on electricity consumption, randomized experiments are the best way to prove that your idea … more


Five Tips on Managing Student / Advisor Workflow in 2021

Nov. 29, 2020, 9:38 a.m., by Jeffrey Franc

In our latest webinar, our guests, Pier Luigi Ingrassia (CeSi) and Luca Ragazzoni (CRIMEDIM) spoke about their experiences in 2020, and their predictions for 2021. Both admitted that 2020 had been a difficult year for research. Many advisors were extremely busy with their clinical duties and had much less … more


Can We Please Stop Talking About Power?

Nov. 12, 2020, 8:45 a.m., by Jeffrey Franc

There are four situations when peer reviewers shouldn't talk about power. If you are currently reviewing manuscripts before publication, avoiding talking about power in these four situations will make you a top-notch reviewer who provides constructive, actionable advice to the researchers.

For excellent reasons, talking about more


Is this Causation or Correlation?

Oct. 17, 2020, 7:01 a.m., by Jeffrey Franc

Separating correlation from causation can be tricky. However, this distinction is vitally important for interpretation of any statistics. It is all too easy - and counterproductive - to make changes to a process when correlation has been misinterpreted as causation. Using the three established criteria of association, temporality, and … more


Five Ways to Ruin a Research Project

Oct. 4, 2020, 7:40 a.m., by Jeffrey Franc

I had a chance to speak with one of my first mentors in emergency medicine, Dr Eddy Lang: the Academic and Clinical Department Head and a Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine, at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. He has extensive experience in research at … more


Eight Things Effective Students Always Do When Choosing a Research Topic

Sept. 20, 2020, 6:30 a.m., by Jeffrey Franc

When required to do a student research project or a thesis it is very common for student's to face an immediate road block. In some cases, the student quickly creates a multitude or research topics, and it can be very difficult to select the best. In other cases, there … more


Ten Things Effective Advisors Do Differently

Sept. 5, 2020, 3:07 p.m., by Jeffrey Franc

Becoming a truly effective advisor for a thesis or student research project takes more than just dedication. Over the past 20 years, I have had the opportunity to work with dozens of research advisors as they have supervised student research projects and theses. Simply being an expert on a topic … more


There Are Only Three Possible Conclusions About Sample Size You Can Make for Your Discussion

Aug. 10, 2020, 10:37 a.m., by Jeffrey Franc

When it comes time to write the discussion of your paper, what should you say about the sample size? In many cases it is tempting to write the common phrase "as the sample size was small, clearly further research is needed." But, was that the correct thing to write? In … more


Eight Tips to Publish a Negative Study

July 19, 2020, 8 a.m., by Jeffrey Franc

It is often said that most scientific hypotheses are false. However, publishing an article when the results are negative can be a challenge for even the best researchers. The simple existence of a non-significant p-value, or a wide confidence interval is often the death of a paper. And, there … more


Three Ways to Analyze Likert Scales - Avoiding the Likert Crush

June 27, 2020, 7:57 a.m., by Jeffrey Franc

Have you ever been a victim of the Likert Crush? Many of us have. This is when you develop a great survey tool, administer the questionnaire, collect the data, analyze the data, and send it away for peer review... only to get a fast response critiquing your analysis of … more


Response, Factor, and Level - Three Experimental Definitions You Might be Getting Wrong

June 24, 2020, 11:59 p.m., by Jeffrey Franc

When talking about experimental designs do you ever get bewildered by the terms response, factor, and level? If so you are not alone. However, getting the definition of these terms is absolutely critical to ensure that the experimental design is not ruined in the initial planning and execution phases. … more


13 Reasons the Journal Editors Will Reject Your COVID Study

April 11, 2020, 1:02 p.m., by Jeffrey Franc

As COVID-19 engulfs our planet the medical community is struggling to save thousands of victims from premature death. High-quality research published quickly is mandatory to provide the best care. Researchers, journal editors, and clinicians are all working together.

This week I had a chance to chat with one of my … more


Five P-Value Tune-Ups for 2020

Oct. 18, 2019, 9:45 a.m., by Jeffrey Franc

The last several years have been unkind to the p-value. Formerly the star quarterback of the statistics team, the p-value is being pushed off the field and is spending more time hanging out on the sidelines.

Some researchers suggest that we abandon p-values completely. Most statisticians will probably suggest a … more


Four Randomization Traps All Researchers Must Avoid

Oct. 1, 2019, midnight, by Jeffrey Franc

As a statistician my primary goal in all studies is to enable the content expert – the researcher – to develop the best results from their work. Often this means helping the researcher to get higher on the evidence-based medicine pyramid. Aiming for the top placed randomized experiment. Unfortunately, the … more


How Researchers Waste Time Tabulating Data

Sept. 5, 2019, 12:30 p.m., by Jeffrey Franc

Although tabulating your research data seems like an easy task, statisticians need your data in a very specific form to analyze it. Following these eight simple rules will keep from wasting your time on data tabulation.

To busy to read the entire article? Skip to the end to see how … more


These 10 Things are Killing Your Survey

Sept. 8, 2018, 9:31 a.m., by Admin Admin

If you are using surveys for research, these ten problems may be costing you dearly in time and money.

Need a fast way to become an instant survey design expert? Download our survey design checklist.

Here they are, ten rules for designing a survey:

Rule 0: Don't design a … more


Winning the Peer Review Process Part 1: Writing a Winning Introduction

May 5, 2018, 1:35 p.m., by Jeffrey Franc

A great introduction can be key to winning at the peer-review process, and should answer three questions: 1-“What are you trying to prove?” 2-“Who Cares?” 3-“Could this possibly be true?”

Whether you like the peer review process or not, it is probable that for the present and near future peer … more


Send Us Your Peer Review Questions

Sept. 25, 2017, 10:17 p.m., by Jeffrey Franc

Need help with your peer review process? The Stat59 blog is here for you? Send us your questions about the peer review process and we will try to answer them here on the blog. Email us with a copy of your draft manuscript, a copy of the peer … more

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