Asking and answering questions is the cornerstone of science yet formal training in understanding this key process is often overlooked.
Asking Questions in Biology unpacks this crucial process of enquiry, from a biological perspective, at its various stages. It begins with an overview of scientific question-asking in general, before moving on to demonstrate how to derive hypotheses from unstructured observations. It then explains in the main sections of the book, how to use statistical tests as tools to analyse data and answer those questions before, finally, showing the best practice in presenting scientific reports.
As such, it is an indispensable companion to all students of biology, but particularly those enrolled in courses concerning experimental design; data analysis; hypothesis testing; research methods; or any practical project work.
1 Doing Science
Where do questions come from?
1.1 Science as asking questions
1.2 Basic considerations
1.3 The skill of asking questions
1.4 Where do questions come from?
1.5 What is this book about
2 Asking questions
The art of framing hypotheses and predictions
2.2 Exploratory analysis
2.3 Forming hypotheses
3 Answering questions
What do the results say?
3.1 Confirmatory analysis
3.2 What is statistical significance
3.3 Significance tests
3.4 Testing hypotheses
3.5 Testing predictions
3.6 Refining hypotheses and predictions
4 Presenting information
How to communicate outcomes and conclusions
4.1 Presenting figures and tables
4.2 Presenting results in the text
4.3 Writing reports
4.4 Writing for a more general readership
4.5 Presenting in person: spoken papers and poster presentations
Test finder and help guide
Some self-test questions
Appendix I: Table of confidence limits to the median
Appendix II: How to calculate some simple significance tests
Appendix III: Significance tables
Appendix IV: The common codes for the important graphical parameters of R
Answers to self-test questions
Quick test finders
New to this edition:
· Use of the freeware package R for data analysis throughout the book
· Expanded sections on presenting information
· SPSS, Minitab and Genstat boxes downloadable from the book website (www.pearsoned.co.uk/barnard)