Frequently asked questions (FAQs)


Can I get help with my coursework?

No, please consult your course instructor and teaching assistants.   


Can I get help with thesis and dissertation research?

Consultants may assist students undertaking thesis and dissertation research with:

  • translating research questions and hypotheses into statistical terms,
  • designing sampling procedures,
  • choosing appropriate statistical methods,
  • interpreting outputs from a statistical computer program, and
  • phrasing statistical results.

In general, consultants will provide statistical advice but are not responsible for any deadlines. It is not intended that the SCCR carry out the statistical analyses for Masters or Ph.D. theses.  


What sorts of assistance are inappropriate?

In general, it is not appropriate for a consultant to:

  • decide on the hypotheses of the research,
  • analyze the student's data, or
  • write computer-program setups for the students

We have a wider latitude in assisting faculty and staff with their research. However, extensive data analysis services should be contracted. In some cases, we may connect you with faculty members and graduate students within the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration.  


Does SCCR provide computer assistance?

The consultants can provide advice on the selection of R functions and packages. However, we do not carry out the analysis or implement codes for students.


Does SSCR provide support online?

Our consultants are able to conduct office hours through Zoom. This service is by-appointment only. Appointments can be scheduled online.


What video conferencing tool do I need?

We use Zoom for all appointments. Please register an account with Zoom and download the free version before the scheduled appointment.


Where is the meeting link?

If you made an appointment over video conferencing tool, the consultant will send a meeting link to your email account 10 minutes before the start time of the appointment. In the event that the consultant has back-to-back appointments, the email may arrive 10 minutes later than the scheduled start time. Please make sure to check your junk folder to make sure the email is not lost.

Please contact us if you were unable to reach the consultant during the time of the appointment.

How to contact the consultant prior to your appointment?

After you have made an appointment with one of the consultants, you may email relevant materials to the consultant. If the materials contain any information or result of your research, please take appropriate measures to ensure data confidentiality before sending them to the consultant.

Do I have to pay for help?

In general, services are provided free-of-charge to members of the university but there are some limits. Services that involve extensive staff time, continuing assistance or services which go beyond normal consulting must be paid for. For such services, please contact us for quotations and agreements. Clients external to the University of Waterloo must pay for services.

Under some circumstances, and by mutual agreement, the consultant will be regarded as a collaborator on the research, and a co-author on publications that depend on the statistical analyses carried out at the SCCR. In these cases, the consulting fee may be partially or wholly waived. 


What will the initial consultation be like?

An initial consultation usually takes half an hour to an hour. Consultation begins with clients summarizing their research and goals. It is generally useful for the consultant to understand the purpose and context of your research, rather than viewing your work as an abstract statistical problem. It is also helpful to prepare a checklist of what you would like to accomplish during the first meeting. There are times when a consultant may need to do work outside of the consulting sessions to answer a client’s questions. The consultant will arrange for follow-up consultation.


Acknowledgment: Parts of this document were adapted from the Client Guide – Frequently Asked Questions prepared by the Institute for Social Research at York University.