Experimental Design and Sampling

UTS

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Experimental Design and Sampling

  • Host University

    UTS

  • Location

    Sydney, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Life Sciences

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    33116 Statistical Design and Analysis

  • Course Level Recommendations

    Upper

    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

    6
  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    6
  • Overview

    Description
    Essential to a career in research in any branch of science is the ability to design unconfounded experiments and analyse the resulting data. This subject demonstrates the keystone role of experimental design and data analysis in biological science. It also provides a logical framework for conducting scientific research, as well as builds on the analytical skills acquired in past subjects at UTS. By the end of this subject, students are able to design and analyse unconfounded experiments in the field and laboratory. They also have an improved knowledge of multifactorial ANOVA, correlation and regression analyses and non-parametric multivariate techniques. The skills learnt in this subject are crucial for future work at UTS and for a successful career in any field of biological science.
    Subject objectives
    Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
    1. have gained practical experience in analysing ecological data
    2. have gained an understanding of the assumptions inherent in commonly used statistical tests
    3. be familiar with univariate and multivariate approaches to statistical data analysis
    4. be familiar with commonly used experimental designs and their strengths and weaknesses
    5. have developed practical skills in designing experiments
    6. have developed practical skills in ecological sampling
    7. have developed skills in the communication of statistical findings
    This subject also contributes specifically to the development of following course intended learning outcomes:
    An understanding of the nature, practice and application of the chosen science discipline. (1.0)
    The ability to acquire, develop, employ and integrate a range of technical, practical and professional skills, in appropriate and ethical ways within a professional context, autonomously and collaboratively and across a range of disciplinary and professional areas, e.g. time management skills, personal organisation skills, teamwork skills, computing skills, laboratory skills, data handling, quantitative and graphical literacy skills. (3.0)
    An awareness of the role of science within a global culture and willingness to contribute actively to the shaping of community views on complex issues where the methods and findings of science are relevant. (5.0)
    An understanding of the different forms of communication - writing, reading, speaking, listening -, including visual and graphical, within science and beyond and the ability to apply these appropriately and effectively for different audiences. (6.0)
    Contribution to the development of graduate attributes
    Upon completion of this subject, you are expected to be able to have a developed an understanding of the principles of experimental design, and common methods (and their assumptions) needed for the analysis of biological data. You will also develop practical skills in analysing data using statistical analysis software. On successful completion of this subject, you will:
    have gained practical experience in analysing biological data
    have gained an understanding of the assumptions inherent in commonly used statistical tests
    be familiar with univariate and multivariate approaches to statistical data analysis
    be familiar with commonly used experimental designs and their strengths and weaknesses
    have developed practical skills in designing experiments
    have developed practical skills in ecological sampling
    have developed skills in the communication of statistical findings
    Contribution to course aims and graduate attributes
    This subject is intended to develop the following graduate attributes :
    1. Disciplinary knowledge and its appropriate application
    91110 is the primary subject where knowledge of experimental design (as opposed to science-discipline background) is presented in any of the degree programs. Your understanding of experimental design and analysis is assessed by summative process in the final exam.
    2. An Enquiry-oriented approach
    The skills learned in this subject are fundamental to an enquiry-oriented approach, necessary for the accurate application of the scientific process to problems. Your understanding of the critical nature of scientific enquiry will be developed through review of the experimental design elements of previous work in lectures. A substantial component of both the mid-semester and final examinations will require you to critically appraise scientific literature.
    3. Professional skills and their appropriate application
    Experimental design and analysis is arguably the most important skill required of a research active scientist. These skills are paramount for a career in science. Data handling, computational data analysis and graphical literacy skills are explicitly developed in practical classes and examined summatively in the final exam and laboratory workbook examination.
    6. Communication skills
    Scientific writing skills presented in the Biosphere and Biocomplexity are further developed by the draft / report, and the short scientific writing exercise given in week 3. Formative assessment of the draft is explicitly directed at developing higher-level scientific writing skills, which are summatively assessed by the final report assessment. Considerable direction is provided for this. Written communication is also an explicitly stated assessable component of all short-answer exam questions. Oral communication is an explicitly stated component of the poster presentation mark, for which some a priori instruction is given.
    Teaching and learning strategies
    This subject is a 6-credit-point subject that is presented nominally as 2 hours of lectures per week and 3 hours of practical.
    You will be given regular supplementary reading materials either in class or posted to UTSonline. You are expected to read these materials and the information in those reading materials may be included in the final exams.
    In taking this 6 cp subject you are expected to spend an average of 12 hours per week, including class time.
    Content
    Review of basic statistical concepts, basics of experimental design, some advanced experimental design techniques, sampling strategies, assumptions and basic mechanisms of common statistical tests: ANOVA and t-tests, correlation, regression, GLMs, selected multivariate techniques and power analysis. Scientific writing appropriate for level 200, computational data analysis with MINITAB, SPSS, PRIMER.
    Assessment
    Assessment task 1: Mid-semester examination
    Intent:
    There will be a 1 hour test to be held in the lecture time. The test will evaluate your understanding of the material covered in this subject up to this point, including material covered in lectures and laboratory classes.
    Objective(s):
    This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):
    1.0
    Weight: 20%
    Criteria:
    Correct answers to questions: this is a disciplinary knowledge and critical thinking assessment task aimed to help you judge your process at the mid point of the semester
    Assessment task 2: Report on preference experiment
    Intent:
    This assessment is a report describing the laboratory experiment on moisture preference of earthworms. Although the biology is important, this report will mostly focus on the design and analysis aspects of the experiment.
    Objective(s):
    This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):
    1.0
    Weight: 25%
    Criteria:
    There is a specific laboratory class dedicated to describing the requirements and assessment criteria for this report.
    Assessment task 3: Poster presentation for proposed McDonald's study
    Intent:
    This assessment is a poster presentation of the experimental design you come up with to test the hypothesis that McDonald?s food is unhealthy (Practical 3). This will be a group exercise, and each group will submit a single PowerPoint poster. The poster will be done as a single A3 PowerPoint slide. You have complete latitude for both the your experimental design and the layout, content and design of your poster, although the final file must be less than 5 Mb. Each group will present their experimental design to the class in the following week. To ensure everything runs smoothly, you will have to upload your poster before the class.
    Objective(s):
    This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):
    1.0, 3.0 and 6.0
    Weight: 15%
    Criteria:
    There is a specific laboratory class dedicated to describing the requirements and assessment criteria for this assessment.
    Assessment task 4: Examination
    Intent:
    This will evaluate your understanding of the material covered in this subject, including lectures and
    laboratory. The final exam will be 2 hours and divided into two sections: (i) 50 multiple-choice
    questions (50% - 1 hour) and (ii) 5 short answer questions (50% - 1 hour)
    Objective(s):
    This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):
    1.0, 3.0, 5.0 and 6.0
    Weight: 40%
    Minimum requirements
    Any assessment task worth 40% or more requires the student to gain at least 40% of the mark for that task. If 40% is not reached, an X grade fail may be awarded for the subject, irrespective of an overall mark greater than 50.
    You must obtain an overall mark of 50 or greater to pass the subject.
    Recommended texts
    The following book will be helpful for all students, and essential if you decide not to attend all the lectures:
    Quinn GP, Keough MJ (2002) Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists. Cambridge University Press: Melbourne.
    This is an excellent readable introductory level text covering the majority of analyses commonly encountered in ecology and other fields of the biological sciences.
    References
    Andrew NL, Mapstone BD (1987) Sampling and the description of spatial pattern in marine ecology. Annual Review of Oceanography and Marine Biology 25, 39-90.
    Clarke KR (1993) Non-parametric multivariate analyses of changes in community structure. Australian Journal of Ecology 18, 117-143.
    Fowler J, Cohen L (1990) Practical Statistics for Field Biology. Wiley & Sons: Chichester, England.
    Hurlbert SH (1984) Pseudoreplication and the design of ecological field experiments. Ecological Monographs 54, 187-211.
    Quinn GP, Keough MJ (2002) Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists. Cambridge University Press: Melbourne.
    Stewart-Oaten A (1995) Rules and judgments in statistics: Three examples. Ecology 76, 2001-2009.
    Underwood AJ (1990) Experiments in ecology and management: their logic, functions and interpretations. Australian Journal of Ecology 15, 365-389.
    Underwood AJ (1991) The logic of ecological experiments: a case-history from studies of the distribution of macroalgae on rocky intertidal shores. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 71, 841-866.
    Underwood, AJ (1993) The mechanics of spatially replicated sampling programs to detect environmental impacts in a variable world. Australian Journal of Ecology 18, 99-116.
    Underwood AJ (1997) Experiments in ecology and management: Their logical design and interpretation using analysis of variance. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.
    Underwood AJ, Chapman MG (2003) Power, precaution, Type II error and sampling design in assessment of environmental impacts. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 296, 49-70.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.