Statistical Consulting Center

Graduate Student Policies and Procedures

On this page:

Basic Procedure

  1. Make an appointment through the SCC office with a consultant by calling 937-775-4205
  2. Get your advisor's signature on the SCC Graduate Student Permission Slip (PDF).
  3. Send written material (as requested on checklist below) to the SCC office (130 MM) at least 1 week prior to your appointment.
  4. Keep the appointment (one hour) with the consultant and possibly one of our graduate students. Graduate student advisors are encouraged to attend this meeting.
  5. The consultant will give advice to the student during the meeting and then will write an initial consulting report. Copies of the report are sent to both the client graduate student and her/his advisor. See sample report.
     

What We Will Provide

  • A written summary/initial report (see sample report) of initial consulting meeting.
  • Data entry services and data management services.
  • A complete consulting service: initial consulting, data entry, data analysis, a final oral report of the analysis (meeting between client and consultant) and the opportunity for clarification of any questions that come from the final session.
     

What We Will Not Provide

  • Statistical advice relating to course work. Students seeking statistical help with a course they are taking should go to the course instructor.
  • Statistical help for any student whose advisor does not agree in writing that the student may seek our assistance.
     

Checklist for Wright State Graduate Students

  • Upon agreement with your advisor, make an appointment through the SCC Office with a consultant by calling 937-775-4205 a minimum of 1 week ahead of time.
  • Send written material to the SCC office at least 1 week in advance of the appointment date. Written material should include:
    • A brief description of the project. College of Nursing and Health graduate students need to provide a copy of Chapter 3.
    • A copy of all instruments to be used
    • A copy of the demographic questions
    • Scoring instructions for all instruments
    • A list of your research questions and/or hypotheses along with any other questions you may wish to ask
    • The name, Wright State address and telephone number of your advisor.
    • The SCC Graduate Student Permission Slip signed by your advisor agreeing to the involvement of the SCC in the project
    • Your current home address, email address, and phone number where you may be reached during normal business hours.
       

Sample Report

A sample letter is sent to the student (and advisor) after a consultation. These are typical sections and order.

Student's Description of the Proposed Study

The student submits a description of the thesis (Chapter 3) 1 week in advance of the meeting.

This letter is a report of the meeting that you, Dr. Noit Ahl, and I had on April 29, 2016, about your master's thesis in nursing. For your thesis, you plan to conduct a descriptive, correlational study to determine the relationship between perceived satisfaction with educational opportunity and organizational commitment, overall work satisfaction, and intent to remain in the organization among staff nurses at a regional medical center. Nurses whose primary job is to provide direct patient care and have clinical or non-managerial responsibilities will be included in the study.

Participants

You expect between 43 and 119 nurses to participate.

Project Timeline

You plan to defend your proposal in either December 2016, or January 2017.  Data collection will begin as soon as possible after the defense.  You anticipate the data collection will be completed by March 2017.  You anticipate graduating in May 2017.

Instruments to be Used and Scoring Instructions

You will be using four instruments in your study, Perception of Hospital Educational Opportunity Scale (Kirsch, 1990), Organizational Commitment Scale (Monday, Steers, & Porter, 1979), Job Description Index  (Smith, Kendall, & Hulling, 1969), and Intent to Remain Scale (Price & Mueller, 1981). 

The Perception of Hospital Educational Opportunity Scale has 16 (7 negatively worded and 9 positively worded) statements regarding nurses' perceptions of hospital sponsored staff development activities.  Respondents rate the statements using a 7-point Likert scale from 1 = "Strongly Disagree" to 7 = "Strongly Agree."  After reverse scoring the negatively worded statements, responses are summed and divided by 16 to provide a mean score.  Higher scores indicate a more positive perception of educational opportunity.

The Organizational Commitment Scale has 9 positively worded statements about the feelings a nurse may have about the employing organization.  Respondents rate the statements using a 7-point Likert scale from 1 = "Strongly Disagree" to 7 = "Strongly Agree."  A mean score is calculated as it was for the Perception of Hospital Educational Opportunity Scale.  Higher scores indicate a more positive level of organizational commitment.

Demographic Questions

Additionally, you constructed a demographic questionnaire to determine age, rank, gender, highest nursing degree held, and length of time as a nurse.

Calculations and Descriptive Statistics

Frequencies and frequency percentages will be calculated on all variables in your study.  Additional descriptive statistics such as the mean, standard deviation, median, mode, minimum, maximum, and range will be calculated for age, length of time as a nurse, and scores for all four instruments.

Research Questions, Hypotheses, and Tools Used to Answer Them

  • Research Question #1: What is the perceived level of satisfaction of staff nurses with educational opportunities at a regional medical center?
    • Descriptive statistics on the scores for the Perception of Hospital Educational Opportunity Scale  will be used to answer this question.
  • Research Question #2: What is the level of organizational commitment of staff nurses at a regional medical center?
    • Descriptive statistics on the scores for the Organizational Commitment Scale will be used to answer this question.
  • Research Question #3: What is the relationship between the perceived satisfaction with educational opportunity and organizational commitment, overall work satisfaction, intent to remain, and selected demographic variables?
    • Multiple regression analysis will be conducted to answer this question.  Indicator variables for gender, educational level, and rank will be entered into the model as independent variables.  (The actual number of indicators needed for educational level and rank will be determined by how many different levels are represented in the sample.)  Additionally, scores for organizational commitment, overall work satisfaction, and intent to remain will be entered into the model as independent variables.  Perceived satisfaction with educational opportunity as measured by the Perception of Hospital Educational Opportunity Scale will be entered into the model as the dependent variable.

Special Notes: Handling a Potential Flaw in the Statistical Model

Since educational level and rank may be correlated, the Variance Inflation Factor (VIF) indicating multicollinearity will be checked to ensure the assumptions necessary for using multiple regression analysis are met.  If the assumption is violated, then only one of those two factors will be included in the model.

Consultant Calculates Sample Size

Assumptions Affecting the Sample Size

In calculating necessary sample size, I assumed one variable would be needed for gender, one for educational level, and three for rank, for a total of 8 independent variables in the analysis.  The power analysis calculations assume that you are going to use all 8 variables in the regression model and that you want to know if any one variable is significant given that all of the other 7 are already in the model.  The overall alpha level was set at 0.05.  I set different levels of overall R-squares or total amount of variance in the data explained by the variables already in the model.  Also, I assumed that you would want to detect an increase of  5% in explained variance for the variable to be significant.

Sample Size

To achieve 80% power with overall R-square of  0.50, you need complete data on 80 participants.

Method of Calculation

Preliminary power calculations were performed based on the formula in an article by Sande Milton (see  reference below.)  Final power calculations were performed using PASS version 6.0.

Future Contact

The SCC offers assistance with the data.

Also during our meeting, I pointed out your options for data entry.  If you would like us to enter your data into a spreadsheet for you, our charge for this service is $40.00 per hour.  (The estimated time to enter your data is 2 1/2 minutes per questionnaire.)  Your other option is to enter the data yourself.  We accept data in a variety of  forms (Excel, Qedit, Word and others.)  In either case, please consult with Jennifer Schmidt in our office prior to your data entry..

The only other charge is $56.00 per hour for data management.  Data management is SAS programming to format the data to make it useful for analysis as well as to label the data for easier reading.

The student is asked to inform the SCC of modifications to the plan.

If you have any further questions or if you feel I have not understood your goals,  please let me know.  Also, I need to be kept informed of any changes that you may make to your  study.  I enjoyed meeting you and look forward to working with you on this project.  Good luck with your work!

Sincerely,
 
Michael Bottomley
Statistical Consultant

A file number is provided for all future communications.

SCC #2016035

The advisor is sent a copy of the report.

cc:  Dr. Noit Ahl

Reference:
Milton, S., 1986.  A Sample Size Formula for Multiple Regression Studies, Public Opinion Quarterly (50), 112-118.