Interested Community Partners

We can advise and assist on a variety of statistical issues. If you are an organization that has statistical needs, we may be able to help!

"STATCOM fills such an important gap in data management and analysis for community-based organizations that may not have the time, resources, and/or expertise to engage in more sophisticated evidence-based decision-making. In my own work with an NGO in Bolivia, STATCOM is helping to guide our analysis and to determine additional ways we can make sense of the enormous amount of data we've collected."

Lesli Hoey, PhD, Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Michigan

Frequently Asked Questions:

What happens at the initial meeting?

At the initial meeting with the client, team members and the client discuss the project. The faculty partner may also attend the initial meeting to help facilitate this discussion. The client is expected to explain the project and expected deliverables with the team in order to formulate questions that can be evaluated using statistical methods. At this meeting, it is important to clarify with the client what services STATCOM can and cannot provide. For example, it should be made clear that the students working on the project are volunteering their time and thus a reasonable timeline should be constructed. It should be emphasized that the client is entirely responsible for decision-making based on the results provided. STATCOM does not provide data collection and entry services. At this initial meeting, STATCOM informs the client of the confidentiality policy and discusses whether the client wishes to keep the project confidential or will allow STATCOM to share details about the project with others.

Who is the primary point of contact for clients?

Once the STATCOM team that is working on the project is determined, the main point of contact for the client is the team leader. Prior to that point, the STATCOM leadership team works with the client to develop the initial stages of the project.

What types of analyses do most clients need?

We are able to provide advice and assistance on a wide variety of statistical issues:

  1. Survey/sample design and analysis
  2. Graphical and statistical methods of summarizing and presenting data
  3. Interpretation of survey results
  4. Development of statistical models
  5. Trend analysis and more

STATCOM is able to assist in areas of study design, analysis, and the interpretation of results; however, we do not have the resources to assist in data collection and entry.

How does STATCOM demonstrate concern for clients and uphold ethical standards?

We emphasize that our work is confidential and is on a volunteer basis. Since our clients are solely governmental or non-profit organizations, they are generally pleased with the help we give them. If there is ever a concern of content or quality of STATCOM's final product, it is addressed at the final meeting. We also emphasize statistical ethical guidelines and present the results of our analysis in an unbiased manner. We leave all decision-making based on our findings to the client. If we ever came across a project which we felt might compromise our integrity as an impartial party, we reserve the right to turn down such projects.

What does STATCOM expect from the client?

STATCOM expects the client to do all data collection and data entry. We expect de-identification of all individuals before we receive the data. For example, if the data consists of a student's grade, the student's name must not appear in the data set we receive. Instead "Student 1" could be used. We also expect the client to educate team members about relevant information that may be important for the analysis. For instance, when writing the report, background information is needed to present our findings in the context of the subject matter. If further expertise is required, STATCOM may seek advice from other departments at the University of Michigan.

STATCOM and Human Subjects Research

We always ask for de-identified data, in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other guidelines. The vast majority of our work consists of consulting for organizations to improve their services and thus is not considered human subjects research. However, on rare occasions where human subjects research might be involved, it is incumbent on the students and their faculty advisors to seek Institutional Research Board (IRB) approval for the work.