Initial Meeting Reports

The Initial Meeting Report is intended to be an accurate summary for the benefit of all who are involved in the project. It is also the primary means by which information is transferred from one consultant to another when file assignments change.

Use Microsoft WORD to prepare the report. The Statistical Design Consulting Meeting Record form file is called "Initial Meeting.doc" and is available to each consultant.

  • Bring a copy of this form to the initial meeting to facilitate note taking.
  • Fill in the top part of the report (name, department, etc.). Use standard writing conventions throughout the report. Use mixed upper and lower case as appropriate; insert one space after a comma or semi colon and two spaces after a period.
  • Statement of Problem:   Use the infinitive form. For example, "To assess differences among..." or "To determine average..." This section should be very brief; one or two sentences will do.
  • Goal of this project:   Indicate if the results of the project will be used in a master's thesis, Ph.D. dissertation, journal article, technical report or other publication.
  • Background:   This section should explain the motivation for the study. If the data have already been collected, describe the design of the study, sample size and nature of the measurements.
  • Progress of Project at this Time:   Describe what the client has done up to the time of the Initial Meeting.
  • Relevant Information Presented at the Meeting:   Explain any issues that are important to the successful completion of the project. For example, include information about nonstandard data collection methods or foreseeable problems with data transfer between computers or software formats.
  • Recommendations for Design and/or Analysis:   Describe the recommendations that were made at the meeting. This should include a description of the statistical procedures used for the analysis or a layout of the design.
  • Who Will Carry out these Actions:   Specify who will carry out the recomendations. Your role in the remainder of the project should be understood clearly after the Initial Meeting.
  • Status:   Indicate if the project is complete, if the client will work alone and call the consultant as needed, or if another meeting will be scheduled.
Use the spell check tool in WORD before submitting the report. Consult a grammar or English word usage reference if you are in doubt about word forms, sentence structure or style.

Be aware of words sounding the same (e.g., their and there; to, too and two) and use the correct one.

The final version of the Initial Meeting Report is sent to the client and can be viewed as the contract between the SCS and the client. Also, this report will be the basis for the semester report, so it should be complete and accurate. Submit the report to the SCS manager and to the director attending the Initial Meeting within two weeks of the meeting. Revise the report as requested. Submit the corrected report and the original report (with correction suggestions) to the SCS manager within three days.

Other Guidelines:

  • Aim for conciseness. For instance, if there are many observed variables or many hypotheses, describe a few typical ones.
  • Show the design layout using a diagram. (Can include this in the Background section, Relevant Information section, or Recommendations section as appropriate.)
  • Give models when possible, taking care to define all notation. (This would likely be in the Recommendations section.)
  • Write as if the reader is someone unfamiliar with the study, but familiar with statistical terminology.

Subsequent Meeting Reports: Submit additional reports if subsequent formal meetings between client, advisor, consultant and a director of SCS take place. These reports should be written using the Statistical Design Consulting Meeting Record form. The same time frame is expected for as in initial report.

Return to Notes for Consultants

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