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Unit outline_

ENVX2001: Applied Statistical Methods

Semester 1, 2021 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit builds on introductory 1st year statistics units and is targeted towards students in the agricultural, life and environmental sciences. It consists of two parts and presents, in an applied manner, the statistical methods that students need to know for further study and their future careers. In the first part the focus is on designed studies including both surveys and formal experimental designs. Students will learn how to analyse and interpret datasets collected from designs from more than 2 treatment levels, multiple factors and different blocking designs. In the second part the focus is on finding patterns in data. In this part the students will learn to model relationships between response and predictor variables using regression, and find patterns in datasets with many variables using principal components analysis and clustering. This part provides the foundation for the analysis of big data. In the practicals the emphasis is on applying theory to analysing real datasets using the statistical software package R. A key feature of the unit is using R to develop coding skills that are become essential in science for processing and analysing datasets of ever increasing size.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
[6cp from (ENVX1001 or ENVX1002 or BIOM1003 or MATH1011 or MATH1015 or DATA1001 or DATA1901)] OR [3cp from (MATH1XX1 or MATH1906 or MATH1XX3 or MATH1907) and an additional 3cp from (MATH1XX5)]
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Floris Van Ogtrop,
Lecturer(s) Floris Van Ogtrop,
Mathew Crowther,
Aaron Greenville,
Liana Pozza,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam CANVAS online exam
CANVAS timed MCQ + Short answer exam, open book
55% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO5 LO6
Assignment Designing an Experiment
Written report
5% Week 06 See canvas for details
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO6 LO7
Online task Mid semester exam
See canvas for details
10% Week 07 1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO3 LO2
Assignment Collecting & analysing experimental data
Written report
10% Week 10 See canvas for details
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Presentation group assignment Presentation - Topics 7-12
Powerpoint Audio presentation + individual reflection
15% Week 13 5 minutes. See Canvas for more details
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Online task Online quizzes
Quizzes are completed in Canvas
5% Weekly 120 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?

Assessment summary

  • Topics 1-6: There will be 2 short individual and group reports. The first will involve developing an experimental design and the second will require collecting and analysing experimental data. The report details will be released via Canvas at 5pm on the Friday of Weeks 1 and 4.
  • Topics 7-12: There will be a group presentation involving a modelling exercise integrating all Topics in Module 2. Groups will collect datasets.The report details will be released via Canvas at 5pm on the Friday of Week 7
  • Online quizzes: There will be weekly online multiple choice quizzes that will be assessed during the semester. The questions will be taken from the output in the practical classes and the analysis of example datasets. The questions should be seen as practice for the final exam and multiple attempts will be allowed. They will be released on Friday at 5pm and be due by the following Wednesday 11pm. Two hours will be given to complete the online quizzes.
  • Mid-semester exam: There will be a mid semester test, which is designed to test you abilities in analysing data using R and also interpretting R output.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO6 LO7
Week 02 Sampling designs Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO1
Week 03 1-way ANOVA Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO3 LO5
Week 04 Residual diagnostics & post hoc tests Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO3 LO5
Week 05 Experimental design Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 06 ANOVA with blocking Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 07 Regression modelling Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 08 Regression model development Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Regression model assessment Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Principle component analysis Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 11 Clustering Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 12 Multidimensional scaling Lecture and tutorial (5 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 13 Revision Lecture and tutorial (5 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

Due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance requirements for this unit of study have been amended. Where online tutorials/workshops/virtual laboratories have been scheduled, students should make every effort to attend and participate at the scheduled time. Penalties will not be applied if technical issues, etc. prevent attendance at a specific online class. In that case, students should discuss the problem with the coordinator, and attend another session, if available.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

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

  • LO1. demonstrate proficiency in designing sample schemes and analysing data from them using using R
  • LO2. describe and identify the basic features of an experimental design; replicate, treatment structure and blocking structure
  • LO3. demonstrate proficiency in the use or the statistical programming language R to apply an ANOVA and fit regression models to experimental data
  • LO4. demonstrate proficiency in the use or the statistical programming language R to use multivariate methods to find patterns in data
  • LO5. interpret the output and understand conceptually how its derived of a regression, ANOVA and multivariate analysis that have been calculated by R
  • LO6. write statistical and modelling results as part of a scientific report
  • LO7. appraise the validity of statistical analyses used publications.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Firstly we appreciate the positive feedback we got for this challenging course. We have carefully read the things that can be improved and we are making significant changes to improve the student experience. There were a number of key pieces of feedback from multiple students which I will address. 1 Group work: students found that there was too much weight on the groupwork projects. We have addressed this by reducing the weight of the group work, which is now one task as opposed to two tasks. 2. Project descriptions need to be more detailed. We try to be a bit less prescriptive in second year to allow more freedom in how one approaches the assessments. However, we will revisit the descriptions of the tasks to ensure there is minimal ambiguity. 3. Lecture clarity needs improvement. In 2020 we had a number of new lecturers on board and it was a trying year for them. Now with some experience gained, the lecture delivery should naturally improve.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances 
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories 
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door 


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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