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ERIC Number: EJ847973
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Nov
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 14
ISSN: ISSN-1479-7860
Strategies for Enhancing the Learning of Ecological Research Methods and Statistics by Tertiary Environmental Science Students
Panizzon, D. L.; Boulton, A. J.
Bioscience Education e-Journal, v4 Article 1 Nov 2004
To undertake rigorous research in biology and ecology, students must be able to pose testable hypotheses, design decisive studies, and analyse results using suitable statistics. Yet, few biology students excel in topics involving statistics and most attempt to evade optional courses in research methods. Over the last few years, we have developed a tertiary-level unit to create a positive, inquiry-based, learning environment for teaching survey methods and statistics to environmental science students. This paper reports the success of incorporating a staged sequence of learning and assessment tasks into an ecological research methods unit. To gauge reactions to the strategies incorporated into the unit, all students completed a questionnaire and several students were interviewed while the lecturer involved was interviewed. Overall, students demonstrated acquisition of fundamental research skills, enhanced understanding of the subtleties of the scientific method, and improved confidence in their use of inferential statistical procedures. Further, they recognised the value of interactions with their colleagues and the need for flexibility in research design to compensate for variable environmental conditions. Skills in statistics and survey design appear best taught using learning and assessment tasks that are integrated into the teaching sequence so that they emulate the steps involved in conducting "real-life" scientific research. (Contains 2 tables and 2 figures.)
Centre for Bioscience, The Higher Education Academy. Room 9.15 Worsley Building, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK. Tel: +44-113-343-3001; Fax: +44-113-343-5894; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia