Frequently Asked Questions

 


 

 

What services does HADSI offer?

The services available through HADSI including the following:

  • Protocol development
  • Abstract preparation
  • Data analysis
  • Data coding
  • Data collection methods
  • Database design
  • Data management
  • Data safety monitoring
  • Evaluation methods
  • Health policy analysis
  • Interpretation of data analysis results
  • Power analysis
  • Qualitative research
  • Randomization and blinding
  • Research feasibility discussion to establish testable research hypotheses
  • Results presentation (tables, figures, etc.) for manuscripts and posters
  • Sample size calculation
  • Software usability or task analysis
  • Study design
  • Survey research
  • General consultation

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Who can request HADSI services?

EVMS faculty, staff, residents, fellows and students may request HADSI services.

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How do I request HADSI services?

To begin the consultation process, please fill in our service request form and direct any questions to HADSI@evms.edu. We will schedule an initial consultation to discuss the project and estimate the amount of time that will be required. Basic questions and analytical problems can be solved during this initial meeting. However, sometimes further work and additional meetings are required.

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Who will help me with my request?

Each project will be performed by faculty or staff with the appropriate expertise. Services such as experimental design, development of statistical methodologies, protocol development, power analysis and sample-size calculation for grant proposals, data analysis using advanced statistical methods, interpretation of results and preparation of the statistical parts of manuscripts will require a PhD statistician. Data analysis using simple statistical methods, data entry, data cleaning, data management, interpretation and report of the results will be performed by a master-level MPH or research assistant under the supervision of a PhD statistician.

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Can I request a specific HADSI team member to assist with my request?

No, a specific team member may not be requested. Given the complexity of most requests, very often in order to meet the deadlines, a single project can be handled by multiple HADSI team members and prioritized based on existing workloads.

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At what stage of my research should I contact HADSI for assistance?

We recommend contacting HADSI at the planning stage of your research; the earlier the contact, the better.

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The deadline for my project is approaching quickly, will HADSI still assist with my request?

Urgent requests may be submitted, but we cannot promise to meet your expectation if the given timeframe is not long enough.

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How long will it take for HADSI to review my request?

HADSI will respond to the request within 2 business days.

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What is the typical turnaround time for requested services?

The typical turnaround time for requested services will vary. After the initial consultation, the investigator will be given a general idea on the amount of time required for their project. Projects will be prioritized by deadline date, number of services requested and available funding for services. In general, requests will take from 2 weeks to 2 months to complete.

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How long is the initial consultation?

The initial consultation can range from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the complexity of the request.

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What should I bring to the initial consultation?

To maximize the use of your consulting time, it is best to send the related information in advance if possible. Examples include:

  • Research protocol or a draft of the protocol
  • Brief description of the hypothesis if the protocol has not been developed
  • List of variables collected or plan to be collected
  • Any existing data
  • IRB approval letter
  • Sample of questionnaire
  • Other documents related to the project

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How many face-to-face meetings will we have? 

This will vary depending on the complexity of your project and your question. Typically investigators do not need any additional face-to-face meetings after the initial consultation. Please keep in mind that face-to-face meetings can actually save time and can be the most effective way to communicate complex research designs or analytical methods.

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I need assistance with protocol development, what information should I provide?

We suggest providing the following information before your consultation:

  • Brief description of the hypothesis
  • Literature review of the topic
  • Publications on which you wish to build from (if applicable)
  • Draft of protocol

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I need a power and sample size calculation, what information should I provide?

For different study designs, different prerequisites are needed for power and sample size calculations. For the most frequently used study designs, to achieve a certain level of power, our statisticians would want to know the following to compute a required sample size: your primary outcome variable and the type of variable (continuous, categorical), a clinically or biologically meaningful difference between means, proportions or incidence rates (effect size), and a variability estimate (standard deviation for continuous measures). The effect size and SD are usually found in previous published studies, from a literature search, a pilot study or an educated guesswork.

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How should I prepare my data for analysis?

Data should be collected and recorded in ways that make them easier to use in statistical software packages. Appropriate file formats include either Excel or Access. It is recommended to list all variables of interest in a structured way (i.e. in columns and observations in rows into a data table or spreadsheet). Each column in the database should be appropriately defined, labeled and formatted based on the type of variable (i.e. whether it is quantitative or qualitative). Variable names should not contain any special characters with the exception of an underscore, if desired. Missing data can be recorded as either a blank space or a dot (.). Your data set should always be accompanied by a codebook containing at least the following information for each variable: variable name, description, unit of measure (if applicable), and format (e.g. character, numeric, date).  For example:

 

Variable Name

Description

Unit of Measure

Format

Age

Subject age

Years

Numeric

BMI

Body mass index

Kg/m2

Numeric

Gender

Subject gender

 

Character (1=Male, 2=Female)

Race

Subject race

 

Character (1=White, 2=Black, 3=Other)

 

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How do I recognize the work HADSI has done for my research?

It is important for the investigator(s) and HADSI faculty/staff consultants to discuss co-authorship on scientific projects and agree on criteria early in their collaborative process. Authorship is generally expected where substantive input and effort on research design and/or statistical analysis are provided. As an example, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends authorship to be based on the following four criteria (www.icmje.org):

  • Substantial contribution to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND
  • Drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; AND
  • Final approval of the version to be published; AND
  • Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Those who meet the four criteria should be identified as authors. Those who do not meet all four criteria should be acknowledged as contributors. Examples of contributor activities include: acquisition of funding; general supervision of a research group or general administrative support; and writing assistance, technical editing, language editing and proofreading.

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What statistical software does HADSI use?

We use SAS, R or JMP for projects requiring the use of statistical software.

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Is there a charge for HADSI services?

The initial consultation is free for each new project. Investigators may request a fee waiver for free services from HADSI. However, if a fee waiver is not completed on the service request form‌, HADSI will provide a cost estimate during the initial consultation and, where applicable, verify funding with the Principal Investigator of the study.

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Is there any data available through HADSI?

Yes, currently the data available to investigators through HADSI is the Virginia Health Information (VHI) patient-level discharge data. In order to gain access to this data, please fill out our VHI request form, review the terms and restrictions, and send the completed forms to HADSI@evms.edu. HADSI and the M. Foscue Brock Institute will review your request for approval. Once you have been granted approval, you must submit your project to the EVMS Institutional Review Board (IRB) as non-human subjects research.  Please do not submit your IRB application until you have received confirmation from us about the data items. We will provide you with your raw data once we have received the IRB approval letter.

 

Please review the VHI Data Directory for more information about VHI and the variables included in the data.

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How do I request a REDCap account?

In order to use REDCap, please complete the online form to request a REDCap account. You will be notified with further instructions. 

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Who can I contact if I have further questions?

Please send any additional questions to HADSI@evms.edu or call 757.446.8403 for service request inquiries and 757.446.7991 for all other inquiries.

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