Experimental Design and Statistical Analysis
Bt Corn, Lignin, and ANOVAs
Department of Biological Sciences
Western Illinois University
This case is based on a research paper about the lignin content of genetically modified corn published in the American Journal of Botany. Students are asked to analyze and discuss the paper, focusing on questions related to experimental design and interpretation and a critique of the statistical data presented. Developed for use in an upper-level undergraduate course in plant ecology and a graduate biostatistics course, the case could also be used in courses in plant anatomy, plant physiology, soil ecology, agriculture, or genetics.
- Discover how the different components of a scientific research paper fit together.
- Evaluate the results, particularly how the statistical analysis supports the results.
- Identify potentially valuable missing pieces of information.
- Delineate what should be done next.
- Consider the environmental consequences of the widespread use of Bt-corn.
KeywordsStatistical analysis; biostatistics; experimental design; ANOVAs; Bt corn; lignin; soil ecology
Topical AreasScientific method
Educational LevelUndergraduate upper division, Graduate
Type / MethodsDilemma/Decision, Discussion
Subject HeadingsBotany / Plant Science | Agriculture | Ecology | Genetics / Heredity | Statistics |
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This case includes a dataset in Excel format which the case author obtained from the authors of the original research paper the case is based on. Students can be given the dataset and asked to analyze the data and write a report on their conclusions.