Data Analysis for Conservation Biologists - WCON5380

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Canterbury
Spring Term 5 15 (7.5) Jake Bicknell checkmark-circle

Overview

This course is designed to introduce and re-affirm statistical concepts, and their correct use and relevance to field biologists. Introductory topics will include measures of central tendency, frequency distributions, the normal distribution, standard errors, and how sample parameters, and null hypotheses apply in real biological situations. Further topics will include one- and two-tailed tests, chi-squared test, regression analysis, and analysis of variance. The role of probability in field biology will be considered, and its application to biological questions. Throughout, emphasis will be placed on practical application of statistics as much as possible, and when and how they are applied. Since there is both a theoretical and practical component, students should aim to link the theory presented in lectures with the practical sessions and field trip components. The field trips will be towards the end, by which time students will have been exposed to sufficient statistical methods, and be ready to apply it. By the end of the module, students should have a knowledge of the underlying principles of biological statistics, be able to evaluate from a theoretical stand-point and in practise, statistical results, and have a sound appreciation of the benefits and limitations of different statistical techniques and their application to field biology.

The role of this module has been to provide students with the statistical knowledge to conduct their data analysis for their research project, and to reinforce the appreciation and knowledge of statistical methods within a biological framework. It is often the case that students in the second and third years of their degree are able to execute statistical analysis via computer programmes, but lack an appreciation of what the statistical results actually mean, and the ability to correctly interpret them in the context of their research. This module is designed to address these issues through a combination of lectures on statistical topics within a biological framework, and practical tasks and exercises.

Details

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 24
Private study hours: 126
Total study hours: 150

Availability

BSc Wildlife Conservation,
BA Environmental Social Sciences
BSc Human Ecology

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
Statistics worksheet (40%)
Full statistics write-up and paper (60%)

Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework.

Indicative reading

Reading list (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)

Fowler, J., Cohen, L. & Jarvis, P. (1998). Practical Statistics for Field Biology. John Wiley & Sons. Chichester, UK.

Ruxton, G. D. & Colegrave, N. (2003). Experimental Design for the Life Sciences. Oxford University Press.

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Discuss the theoretical Normal Distribution, and its application to data analysis.

8.2 Discuss null Hypotheses, Type I and II Errors, Sample Strategies, and Independence

8.3 Discuss One- and Two-Tailed Tests.

8.4 Discuss analysis of Variance (ANOVA), and Chi-Squared.

8.5 Discuss Bivariate Data, Regression Analysis and Correlation Coefficients

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Understand, analyse and re-affirm statistical concepts, and their correct use and relevance to field biologists.

9.2 Understand topics including measures of central tendency, frequency distributions, the normal distribution, standard errors, and how sample parameters, and null hypotheses apply in real biological situations.

9.3 Understand further topics including one- and two-tailed tests, chi-squared test, correlations, regression analysis, and analysis of variance (ANOVA).

9.4 Understand the role of probability in field biology, and its application to biological questions.

Notes

  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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