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Fieldwork Statistics and Experimental Design

Module titleFieldwork Statistics and Experimental Design
Module codeJBIM002
Academic year2020/1
Module staff
Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Fieldwork Statistics and Experimental Design is a core module in this MSc; it has a transversal character and is the main basis for a rigorous approach to biotic (faunistic and floristic) and abiotic (geographic, climatic, lithology, soils, etc.) data collection and statistical (univariate and multivariate) description and analysis. For this reason, the module sits at the very beginning of the MSc and is delivered as part of a fieldwork approach in a small, nearby islet of the Channel islands (Sark, Herm and/or Alderney), where you can obtain your own data and are subjected to different analytical procedures.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module aims to teach you to carry out fieldwork experiments, sampling and inventories strategies of plant and animal population and communities, including the fundamentals of the scientific method, the basis of the experimental design, floristic, vegetation and faunistic data collection procedures and the statistical description and analysis of the data obtained.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Formulate detailed hypotheses that can explain the observations and experiment where the postulated hypothesis explaining the observations can be falsified
  • 2. Plan rigorously field-based data collection and execute field data collection, either through sampling or inventories (censuses) procedures

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Apply statistical and modelling skills to understand and interpret quantitative analyses using the more important statistical computational tools and packages
  • 4. Analyse scientific results and determine their strength and validity

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Communicate effectively through oral presentations, written reports, posters and scientific publication
  • 6. Demonstrate management skills, such as decision-making, problem definition, project design and evaluation, risk management, teamwork and coordination, and manage resources and time

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Experiments in Ecology

o Hypotheses
o Experimental design (sampling, replication, control)
o Presentation of results

  • Field work: Preparation of datasheet, tools, safety measures
  • Data presentation (graphic and tables)

o Graphical representation of central and dispersion data
o Tables

  • Parametric tests

o F-Snedecor
o Matched and unmatched t-test
o ANOVA (one and more than one factors)

  • Non-Parametric tests

o Chi2 (contingency tables)
o U Mann Whitney
o Kolmogorov-Smirnov
o Kruskal-Wallis

  • Correlation and regression

o Correlation and regression
o Multiple regression

  • Classification vs. ordination

o Classification
o Ordination

  • Diversity indexes
  • The preparation of manuscript
  • Introduction to advanced statistic and modeling tools

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching15Class-based activities and lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching15Field work on Sark, Channel Islands
Guided Independent Study60Pre-reading for lectures - accessible via UoE VLE
Guided Independent Study60Writing up and finishing assessments


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Quizzes10 question quiz1Formative - written
On-field presentationsQ&A and 10 minute presentation2Formative - oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Report1002500 words1-6Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ReportReport1-6Four weeks from the date feedback was given

Re-assessment notes

One assessment is required for this module. In all cases re-assessment will be the same as the original assessment. Where you have been referred/deferred for any form of assessment detailed above you will have the opportunity to retake within the period specified above from the date that feedback was provided.

If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of deferral, your re-assessment will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment and the overall module mark will not be capped.

If you pass re-assessments taken as a result of referral (i.e. following initial failure in the assessment), the overall module mark will be capped at 50%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading


  • Chalmers and Parker (1989) The OU project guide. The Open University (Field studies council).
  • Legendre and Legendre (1998) Numerical Ecology. Elsevier (Chapter 1: Complex Ecological data sets)
  • Gauch Jr (1995) Multivariate analysis in community ecology. Cambridge Studies in Ecology (Chapter 4: Ordination).

Key texts:

  • Arévalo, J.R., Álvarez, P., Narvaez, N. & Walker, K. 2009. The effects of fire in the regeneration of a Quercus douglasii stand in Quail Ridge Reserve, Berryessa Valley (California). Journal of Forest Research 14: 81-87.
  • Arévalo, J.R. & Fernández-Palacios, J.M. 2005. Gradient analysis of exotic Pinus radiata plantations and potential restoration of natural vegetation in Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain). Acta Oecologica 27: 1-8.
  • Arévalo, J.R., Delgado, J.D., Otto, R., Naranjo, A., Salas, M. & Fernández-Palacios, J.M. 2005. Distribution of alien vs. native plant species in roadside communities along an altitudinal gradient in Tenerife and Gran Canaria (Canary Islands). Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 7: 185-202.
  • Arévalo, J.R., de Nascimiento, L., Fernández-Lugo, S., Méndez, J., González-Delgado, G., Balguerías, E., Pereira-Cabral, E., Fernández-Palacios, J.M. 2018. Regeneration dynamics in the laurel forest: changes in species richness and composition. iForest 11: 308-314

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Statistics, design, islands, biodiversity, conservation, biotic, abiotic, data, collection

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date