The math goes quite deep, for some reasons the creators of the game did not want us to have it easy.
The most important things to be noticed are the difference between the Primary skills and Tertiary (Power skills).
As I would have expected (and for the sake of a simple example I will use my smashy-smashy sentinel) Strength being the primary start, it would increase my damage output by far. In truth it appears that Power is the one that does that.
Now granted, the primary stat (strength) increases damage by less then power, but it increases the critical chance as well so up to a certain level strength does give more DPS, but once you capped the critical chance you got to switch to power to boost dps. Now, AFAIK the hard cap for critical is 25%, but I am not aware of any softcaps, or the compensation of power after reaching the softcaps.
Of course a second alternative to this would be a power based gear with lots of alacrity, that would give you a fast and hard damage output, rather than the slower but more critty build based on strength.
Of course, as you said, the best way of concluding this would be to have a lot of mods, changing them and beating the hell out of target dummies with different setups and analyzing the DPS output.