What is Statistical Analysis Plan & How To Develop It? A Useful Guide

Regardless of your research design and approach, statistical analysis is a crucial component of any research study. It helps you analyse the collected data correctly and make impactful interpretations. However, to carry out such statistical analysis, you must have a statistical analysis plan, also known as SAP. This plan is developed before the data collection phase begins and guides you throughout the analysis process. Many students are unaware of the SAP and fail to analyse and interpret the collected data correctly.

As you are here reading this post, it means you also do not know how to develop a statistical analysis plan. Well, there is no need to worry. After reading this post, you will be able to make a good plan for the statistical analysis of the data. In today’s post, we will discuss all the steps involved in its development. However, before that, let’s describe what this plan is.

What is a statistical analysis plan?

A statistical analysis plan, or SAP, is a plan that outlines your approach to analysing the collected data. Depending on the type of data, e.g., quantitative or qualitative, this plan can differ, and the approaches in it can also differ. However, the basic purpose of this plan remains the same, which is to guide you to analyse the data correctly. An SAP contains instructions for carrying out successful data analysis and making useful interpretations. It is more like a technical document than a study protocol.

How to develop a statistical analysis plan?

After reading the information above, you now have a good idea of what this analysis is. However, the main discussion topic is how to develop such a plan that can guide the whole analysis process. Well, a brief description of all the points to consider developing such a statistical analysis plan is as follows:

1. Determine the research question

First of all, you need to determine the research questions or hypotheses that you need to answer in the analysis. It is important because without knowing the research questions, you cannot analyse the data correctly. Knowing the hypothesis or needs of the research gives you a purpose, and having this purpose is extremely important. Hence, determine what research questions you need to answer and what information you need to answer them.

2. Decide on the datasets

After knowing the purpose of the statistical analysis plan, it is time to decide on the datasets that you intend to analyse. It includes two things. First is deciding the size of the data to be analysed, and second, it is about the type of the data, whether it is quantitative or qualitative. So, decide on the datasets and databases to be used for the analysis purposes. As a researcher, you cannot take a single step ahead prior to deciding this. Note down everything about the database, i.e., the methodology used to collect it, in case you are working on secondary data.

3. Inclusion and exclusion criteria

After you have decided on your datasets or the sources of data, it is time to have inclusion and exclusion criteria for the analysis. Not every data entry in the dataset is worth analysing. Hence, in your statistical analysis plan, include details of the inclusion and exclusion of the data entries. For example, you have data from an entire country, but your research target is only a district in that country. This is a simple example. If you face a complex case and feel difficulties in inclusion and exclusion criteria, you make contact dissertation writers UK.

4. Decide on variables to study

The analysis plan must include information about the variables that you intend to study. You must include all dependent, independent, and confounding variables you want to study. Giving detailed information about the variables is also necessary. For example, the name of the variable, the type of the variable, and its explanation. As the researcher, you must know all these things about your variables.

5. Choose statistical methods

Lastly, there is now only one thing left to do in the development of a statistical analysis plan, and that is choosing the right statistical methods. Based on the type of your data, choose the method that suits your data. Furthermore, also select the software for the analysis in this step. However, if you do not know about different methods and software used for statistical analysis, go and get help from a dissertation writing services.


Conclusively, a statistical analysis plan is all about outlining your approach to analyse the data collected. Such a plan guides you throughout the analysis and allows you to make useful interpretations based on the results obtained. All you need to do is to remember the steps of its development mentioned above. If you follow these steps, know that you are going to conduct a great and successful analysis.

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