Statistics Refresher for Biologists: in “R” software

  • Start Date: April 14, 2015
  • End Date: April 16, 2015
  • Time: 8:30 am- 4:30 pm
  • City: Revelstoke, BC
  • Venue: Regent Hotel
  • Instructor: Dr. Carl Schwarz
  • Course fee: $675. This includes all course materials and refreshments during the course


 Course Description

“The earth is flat (p<0.5).”

Many scientific studies are full of statistical jargon, tables of averages and other statistics, and results of statistical tests which purport to prove a certain hypothesis. The purpose of this course is to review some of the basic sampling and experiment designs used by ecologists and to understand exactly what can and cannot be extracted from a set of data. With the advent of modern statistical packages, the analysis of data is fairly easy, but it is far too easy to get nonsense results. This course will also review common pitfalls in the analysis of data.

Class size: Class size is limited to 16 people.

Bring: Laptop computer pre-loaded with software (see below)

Prerequisites: A “basic” knowledge of statistics, i.e., usually a single course somewhere in your background.

Course content

1. Review of statistical concepts on estimates, standard errors, confidence intervals, p-values, bias, precision, accuracy, missing values, etc.

2. Overview of environmental monitoring designs

3. Overview of some basic sampling strategies

  • simple random sample
  • stratified sampling
  • cluster sampling
  • two stage sampling
  • ratio estimation

4. Details on simple random sampling, stratified sampling, cluster sampling

  • how to plan
  • sample size requirements, etc.
  • how to analyze
  • pitfalls and which to use when

5. Overview of experimental designs (single factor, two factor)

6. Details on single factor designs

  • two-sample t-test
  • one way ANOVA
  • multiple comparisons
  • subsampling
  • pseudo-replication
  • pairing, blocking, etc.

7. Overview and details on single variable regression analysis

8. Overview and details of categorical data analysis


Schwarz Dr. Carl Schwarz, Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, Simon Fraser University. Carl has taught  many courses with CMI, and is back by popular request!



Required Software

*** IMPORTANT *** In order to install packages after R is installed, you will need either Administrative Access to your machine or a personal library on your desktop where you can install packages on the fly. If you want a personal package library, follow the instructions at the link above.

A VERY brief (interactive) tutorial on R is available at Earn some badges!

Rstudio. Visit and install on your machine.

Adobe Reader – Your laptop needs to have Adobe Reader to access the course manual during the course. The manual is about 65 MB and will be supplied as a download prior to the course. You need at least 65 MB of free space so you can copy the manual to the hard drive and read from the hard drive during the course.

MS Excel – You will need to unzip the course exercises files before the course. Your laptop needs to have MS Excel installed for opening the un-zipped files.

Tip : Allow sufficient time for your tech support people to approve and install the software.

Course Materials

The actual course material is available at in the StatRefresher-R directory

For questions about course content and software, please contact:  Dr. Carl Schwarz at

For questions about registration, contact the CMI office,


Where to stay

Discounted rates of $89.99 are available at the Regent Hotel in Revelstoke (this is where the course is held.) To receive the rate you need to call the Regent directly and mention that you are taking the CMI course. The rooms are held for us until one week prior to the course.  This is a full service hotel, located right downtown Revelstoke.

Regent Hotel
Phone 250-837-2107
For information on other accommodations in Revelstoke, visit the Chamber of Commerce web site at


  • Phone 250-837-9311
  • Fax 250-837-9311
  • Email

Mailing Address

  • P.O. Box 2568
  • Revelstoke, British Columbia V0E 2S0
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