Biostatistics Frequently Asked Questions

There are two primary ways to get biostatistics assistance from the CTSC. We hold virtual office hours via WebEx every Tuesday, except UC Davis observed holidays, from noon to 2 p.m. and the first and third Mondays from 1 to 2 p.m. These sessions provide an opportunity for investigators to consult with a statistician about the design, analysis, or presentation of medical research in a friendly, informal setting, and to get referred for additional help if needed. Reserve a time slot through this web form. Alternatively, you may request biostatistics assistance by submitting an online service request through the CTSC website. In this case, a statistician will be assigned to work with you individually on a short-term basis. Investigators who only need statistical advice are encouraged to attend Office Hours rather than to submit a formal service request.

CTSC biostatisticians can assist with study design/protocol development, sample size and power calculations, grant proposal preparation, statistical analysis plan development, analysis and interpretation of data, manuscript preparation and review (statistical aspects), response to reviewer comments, and DSMB participation. We can also provide guidance in database development from the perspective of ensuring that the correct data are collected for the study hypotheses and in a manner conducive to anticipated statistical analyses.

The CTSC Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design program is supported in part by funding from the CTSA NIH grant and the UC Davis School of Medicine. This funding helps provide our infrastructure at the CTSC and allows us to provide some services without charge. As these funds cover only a small fraction of our expenses, cost recovery for statistical services is essential to sustaining the Biostatistics Program as a resource for all investigators. We provide up to 10 hours (2 hours for medical residents and students) of consultation without charge to investigators who do not have extramural funding. Researchers with extramural funding must provide salary cost recovery for professional statistical services at a level commensurate with the available funding and level of effort. Our staff recharge rate is $89 per hour. Biostatistical assistance for grant proposals is provided free of charge. Grant proposals that require statistical assistance for preparation will usually require statistical services to accomplish the project goals, and we will assist with preparing the budget to provide an appropriate level of statistical support. Guidance on the level of effort to budget for statistical services is available on the Cost of Services page.

We recommend consulting a biostatistician while developing the research plan or proposal to ensure that your study design is appropriate, cost effective, and will collect the data necessary to achieve study objectives. In addition, the biostatistician will determine the sample size necessary for valid statistical inference. Please submit an online service request at least 6 weeks before a grant proposal deadline to allow adequate time for thoughtful review and meaningful input.

No. The CTSC does not maintain a computer lab or statistical software. There are several options for accessing statistical software for free or low-cost and these are listed under our Statistics Resources page.

It depends. Our statisticians primarily use SAS and R and we can provide some limited assistance with programming in these languages. We are generally not able to assist with other software packages because we do not regularly use other packages. We strongly encourage users to invest time to understand their chosen software and to work through programming challenges on their own. For SAS, R, Stata and SPSS users, the UCLA website provides a wealth information on coding and interpretation of common statistical methods.