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Alyssa M. Gleichsner
Graduate Student
agleichs@purdue.edu
Biological Sciences Department
Purdue University
Mini Cases on Choosing Appropriate Statistical Tests for Ecological Data 

This set of mini cases on the ecology of eastern cottontail rabbits is designed to give students practical experience using statistics in a scientific context. Given a dataset and experimental design, groups of students are asked to play the part of a wildlife management researcher to determine the results for each study. Students practice the scientific process and gain experience making hypotheses and predictions, choosing an appropriate statistical test, interpreting and displaying results, and presenting data to others. Students choose between four basic, commonly used, statistical tests (t-test, one-way ANOVA, linear regression, and Chi-square test), and justify their choices. This activity was developed for undergraduate level students and is applicable to biology courses, particularly those dealing with ecology or management. The case is designed for student groups, but could be modified into clicker questions or individual assignments.