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Unit of study_

BIOL2022: Biology Experimental Design and Analysis

This unit provides foundational skills essential for doing research in biology and for critically judging the research of others. We consider how biology is practiced as a quantitative, experimental and theoretical science. We focus on the underlying principles and practical skills you need to explore questions and test hypotheses, particularly where background variation (error) is inherently high. In so doing, the unit provides you with an understanding of how biological research is designed, analysed and interpreted using statistics. Lectures focus on sound experimental and statistical principles, using examples in ecology and other fields of biology to demonstrate concepts. In the practical sessions, you will design and perform, analyse (using appropriate statistical tools) and interpret your own experiments to answer research questions in topics relevant to your particular interest. This unit of study provides a suitable foundation for senior biology units of study.

Code BIOL2022
Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
BIOL1XXX or MBLG1XXX or ENVX1001 or ENVX1002 or DATA1X01 or MATH1XX5 or ENVI1003
BIOL2922 or BIOL3006 or BIOL3906
Assumed knowledge:

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand the process of experimental design and analysis in biological research
  • LO2. understand the concepts of the frequentist approach to statistics and null hypothesis testing
  • LO3. understand the characteristics of data amenable to classic parametric statistics, non-parametric and permutational statistics
  • LO4. understand the philosophical difference between the frequentist approach, and information-theory and Bayesian approaches
  • LO5. appreciate classic parametric statistics and their application in biological research
  • LO6. appreciate the principles underpinning the common techniques for analysing multi-variate data
  • LO7. design, analyse with appropriate software, and interpret simple experiments with uni- and multi-variate data, developed from initial biological questions and observations
  • LO8. evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of biological research, in terms of experimental design, analysis and interpretation
  • LO9. communicate concisely and with clarity the process, outcomes and implications of biological research, verbally and in plain written English