The following are some frequently asked questions and answers. If you cannot find what you're looking for here, please email us at with your question and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Q: How does the free service of the Unit for Statistical Consultation work?

A: In order to take advantage of the free Statistical Services made available by the USC, you first need to complete the USC Introduction to Quantitative Research Methodology and complete the assessment. The reason this is a prerequisite is to ensure that we not only assist you with your analysis requirements but to also help educate you on how to approach statistical analysis to empower you to take on research in the future! Once you have successfully completed the course, you can email the USC to set up an individual consultation. For more information, please see the “How it works” page.

Q: I just have a quick question about my research, it will only take 2 minutes, can I pop into a consultant’s office to ask them?

A: Unfortunately, while it may seem that it will only take a few minutes, in most cases the question needs a significant amount of time to answer. Please remember that there are a few thousand postgraduates and researchers at Nelson Mandela University, and so even if the query does only take “a few minutes”, these minutes add up quickly and make it impossible to keep up with queries. Therefore, we ask that you email us at to either ask your question or schedule an appointment with one of our consultants.

Q: I need to figure out my required sample size for my study to include in my ethics application/proposal, can the USC help me with that?

A: Yes, the USC can assist you with determining the appropriate sample size. If you have not done the USC Introduction to Quantitative Research Methodology course, you can still email us to assist with your sample size. However, we request that you go to the Online course on the iLearn site (email the USC for the link and enrolment key) and review the sample size video to ensure that you are able to supply the consultant with the correct information to calculate the sample size. It is important to note that you need a clear understanding of your research design before you can determine the sample size necessary for your study.

Q: Will the USC help me to write up my results section of my dissertation/thesis?

A: No, all results need to be written and interpreted by the student as it is your research project. However, we are willing to help you with the statistical interpretations of your results through individual discussions during a consultation.

Q: Once I have written up my results chapter, would I be able to have it checked by a consultant?

A: Yes, once you have finished writing up your results chapter, your consultant will be able to read through it to ensure that the statistical results are correctly written up and interpreted. If there are any issues with the interpretation, the consultant will assist the student with the appropriate corrections. Note that the consultants will only assist with any statistical analysis queries and interpretations of the results, they will not comment on content related to the other content or provide spelling or grammar edits.

Q: So, I have completed the USC prerequisite and have emailed the USC to schedule an individual consultation, what should I bring with/prepare for my meeting?

A: To allow for the most efficient use of your time and the consultant’s time, make sure to bring all necessary documents about your study with you to the meeting, as well as any specific questions you have with regards to your analysis. The documents that are generally helpful to the consultant include your research proposal including your research questions and any documentation on experimental process/survey you plan to use. It is often a good idea to email these documents to your consultant prior to your meeting to allow them time to adequately prepare. We also request that you think about possible statistical analysis techniques that could be applied to your data. Even if the techniques would not work, it is a good starting point for the collaboration between student and consultant.

Q: Does the USC work on an appointment basis or does it offer walk-ins?

A: The USC only works on an appointment basis only to allow us to optimize our time as currently there are only 2 consultants to service all university campuses. Please send us an email to schedule an appointment and we will do our best to accommodate your schedule.

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Unit for Statistical Consultation

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