Fifteen Types of Clients Known to Statistical Consultants

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From: James Ssemakula <JAMES@UCRAC1.UCR.EDU>
Subject: client types & consultant types

    The following table is from Gerald van Belle 1982. Some aspects of teaching biostatistical consulting. in Rustagi J.G & D.A. Wolfe (eds) Teaching of Statistics and Statistical Consulting. Academic Press (pp 343-365).

 Table 3. Some Extremes in Client Types, Their Characteristics and the Expected Roles of the Statistical Consultant.

Observed Client Type


Expected Consultant Type
Dempsey Dumpster Wants to dump the whole problem into the consultant's lap. Slave
Rubber Stamper Just wants p value < 0.05 certified. Preferably p < 0.01. Witch Doctor
Type III Personality Comes with wrong question. Does not want to consider correct answer. Type III Statistician
Airport Professor Wants analysis yesterday for tomorrow's conference in New Zealand:  Leaving tonight. Infinite Statistican
Dr. Northcote Will take all available - and unavailable - time. Dr. Parkinson
Kitchen Statistician Wants statistician's approval of paper's statistical analysis severely criticized by referee. Full Professor
Dr. T. V. Savant Has vague feeling of needing statistics for valuable dataset.  Wants statistician to define the question as well as the answer and write it up. Will consider making statistician 5th author on this important paper. Psychiatrist
Innocent Abroad Does not understand t test but wants factor analysis on 20 cases with 50 variables. Magician
Tom Thumb Everything's gone wrong in the experiment but the data are still "valuable and valid." Incurable Optimist
Hydra Every answer generates 9 more (quick) questions. Hercules
Wallflower Successively more complicated (simple) explanations to save the consultant's time. Job
Dr. Avis Wants some advanced analysis that competitor used in paper on same topic. Is sure competitor didn't understand it either. Dr. Hertz
Tinkerer Just wants to make a minor change and rerun analysis that took 5 weeks. Sisyphus
Encyclopedia Salesman Just wants 5 minutes for answer to simple question. Can be handled over the phone. Gullible George
Scientist Considers statistician as coworker and collaborator in the scientific enterprise. Statistician


I also found this table reprinted in the The Statistical Consultant, Spring 1995, Volume 12, No. 1, American Statistical Association.

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