At the core of good research lies the careful design of experiments. Yet all too often a successful design comes only after a painful trial-and-error process, wasting valuable time and resources. Experimental Design for the Life Sciences teaches the reader how to effectively design experiments to ensure today's students are equipped with the skills they need to be the researchers of tomorrow. With a refreshingly approachable and articulate style, the book explains the essential elements of experimental design in clear, practical terms, so the reader can grasp and apply even the most challenging concepts, including power analysis and pseudoreplication.
The inter-relatedness of experimental design, statistics, and ethical considerations is emphasised throughout the book. The use of examples drawn from the primary literature ensures the reader fully understands how the theory of experimental design is applied within the broader context of real biological research. Above all, Experimental Design for the Life Sciences demonstrates how good experimental design relies on clear thinking and biological understanding, not mathematical or statistical complexity – putting it at the heart of any biosciences student's education.
- Self-test questions, with answers at the end of the book, encourage students to check their understanding as they progress and reinforce essential facts
- Take-home messages throughout chapters focus the students' attention on the principles they must grasp
- Discussion of ethical issues, flagged in the margin, raises awareness of this important aspect of experimental design
Online Resource Centre: The Online Resource centre to accompany Experimental Design for the Life Sciences features:
- Self-test questions and answers
- Extra questions
- Links to useful websites and free software
- Fully worked examples of investigative exercises
- Figures from the book, available to download
"I think it is splendid; it is the sort of short and concise text which students remember for a long time and which they hang on to long after the course is passed."
– Bernt Walther, Department of Fisheries and Marine Biology, University of Bergen
"I would have loved to have such a book in this phase of my scientific career."
– Mariet Hefting, Institute of Environmental Biology, Utrecht University
"A well-presented, clearly argued, concise and witty introduction to one of the most important topics in the life sciences."
– Nick Royle, School of Biosciences, Exeter University
"At last a text which clearly and comprehensively takes the student through the mechanisms of sound practice and the pitfalls of less sound experimental design in the biological sciences. Although aimed directly at the undergraduate life sciences student it would also be useful to those studying both above and below this level."
– Journal of Biological Education, Autumn 2006
"This is an excellent book for learning how to approach the design of experimental and, indeed, observational work. It avoids the usual inclusion of statistical detail that turns many students off while retaining all the key issues that are necessary for planning studies that produce good science. I commend this book to all those who struggle to get students to think seriously about designing good scientific studies."
– Higher Education Academy, Bioscience e-Journal, June 2006
Preface - How to use this book
1: Why you should care about design
2: Starting with a well-defined hypothesis
3: Between-individual variation, replication, and sampling
4: Different experimental designs
5: Taking measurements
6: Final thoughts
Answers to self-test questions
Flow chart on experimental design
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