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Title: Strategies for enhancing the learning of ecological research methods and statistics by tertiary environmental science students
Contributor(s): Panizzon, DL (author); Boulton, AJ (author)
Publication Date: 2004
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Abstract: 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, wehave 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 aquestionnaire 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, theyrecognised 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 stepsinvolved in conducting 'real-life' scientific research.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: BEE-J Bioscience Education E-Journal, 4(November), p. 1-14
Publisher: The Higher Education Academy Centre for Bioscience
Place of Publication: Online
ISSN: 1479-7860
Field of Research (FOR): 130303 Education Assessment and Evaluation
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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