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Biological Applications of Statistical Analysis

Science is built upon a foundation of inquiry and experimentation. The data obtained from such investigations has led to and could lead to the further advancement of scientific knowledge and understanding. The reliability of the data, however, is subject to interpretation and is dependent upon a number of factors including: the experimental design, sample or population size, and the accuracy of the instrumentation employed. Validation of the data and the resulting conclusions is based largely upon statistical analysis. These methods include, but are not limited to, calculating the: mean, mode, median, range, sample variance, standard deviation, chi-square analysis, and the Student’s t-test. Therefore, creation of a curriculum unit which focuses on the implementation of statistical methods and techniques would not only be beneficial to improving the problem solving skills of students, but it would also introduce them to the importance of statistics. Consequently, this unit is designed to familiarize high school biology students with certain fundamental concepts of statistical analysis.

Stuart Surrey
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