Fifteen Types of Clients Known to Statistical Consultants


Sender: StatL Discussion List <STATL@MCGILL1.BITNET>
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
343365).
Table 3. Some Extremes in Client Types, Their Characteristics and the Expected Roles of the Statistical Consultant.
Observed Client Type 
Characteristic 
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 5^{th} 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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