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Generating productive dialogue between consulting statisticians and their clients in the pharmaceutical and medical research settings

Authors Emir B, Amaratunga D, Beltangady M, Cabrera J, Freeman R, Madigan D, Nguyen H, Whalen E

Received 3 April 2013

Accepted for publication 15 June 2013

Published 16 September 2013 Volume 2013:3 Pages 51—56


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Birol Emir,1 Dhammika Amaratunga,2 Mohan Beltangady,3 Javier Cabrera,4 Roy Freeman,5 David Madigan,6 Ha Nguyen,1 Ed Whalen1

1Primary Care Business Unit, Pfizer, Inc., New York, NY, USA; 2Nonclinical Statistics and Computing, Johnson & Johnson, Raritan, NJ, USA; 3Pfizer, Inc., New London, CT, USA; 4Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, USA; 5Harvard Medical School, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA; 6Department of Statistics, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

Abstract: Due to the ever-increasing complexity of scientific technologies and resulting data, consulting statisticians are becoming more involved in the design, conduct, and analysis of biomedical research. This requires extensive collaboration between the consulting statistician and nonstatisticians, such as researchers, clinicians, and corporate executives. Consequently, a successful consulting career is becoming ever more dependent on the statistician's ability to effectively communicate with nonstatisticians. This is especially true when more complex, nontraditional analytical methods are required. In this paper, we examine the collaboration between statisticians and nonstatisticians from three different professional perspectives. Integrating these perspectives, we discuss ways to help the consulting statistician generate productive dialogue with clients. Finally, we examine how universities can better prepare students for careers in statistical consulting by incorporating more communication-based elements into their curriculum and by offering students ample opportunities to collaborate with nonstatisticians. Overall, we designed this exercise to help the consulting statistician generate dialogue with clients that results in more productive collaborations and a more satisfying work experience.

Keywords: statistical consulting, nontraditional analysis, communication

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