Stats Refresher for Biologists in “R” Software

  • Start Date: October 23, 2019
  • End Date: October 25, 2019
  • Time: 8:30am - 4:00pm
  • City: Revelstoke, BC
  • Venue: The Regent Hotel, 112 1 St E, Revelstoke, BC
  • Instructor: Dr. Carl Schwarz

Course Description

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 was 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 also reviews common pitfalls in the analysis of data.

Prerequisites: A “basic” knowledge of statistics, i.e., usually a single course somewhere in your background.  A working knowledge of “R” software. If you are new to “R” then we have a 1/2 day Intro to “R” Software course taking place the day before this course! See HERE for more details.

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


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! Carl won the SSC Award for Impact of Applied and Collaborative Work 2017.


Required software

  • Base R and Rstudio (available for Mac, Linux and Windows systems)
  • Adobe Reader
  • Microsoft Excel
  • More detailed software requirements can be found here


Preparation for the course

About 2 weeks before the course you will be sent a web link where you can download pre-reading, a course manual, a set of practice exercises to load on your computer before the class, and instructions on where and how to get the course software.

You will need to bring your own laptop pre-loaded with the required software and downloaded files.

Consider bringing along an external monitor and an external keyboard if you have a small laptop.

You will need to make your own hotel booking, and remember to ask for the rates we’ve arranged for people attending this course (see below).

** The course starts at 8:30 a.m. sharp, you will need to arrive before that so you can set up your computer.



Registration includes catered breaks provided by La Baguette and there is an option to add in bagged lunches for $13/day. Registration for the preceding half-day Introduction to R software course may be done at the same time as registration for this course (see link below).

CMI Member: $675.00*

Non-member:  $720.00

*NOTE: You can purchase your $40 membership at the same time as you register.  See more about membership here.

Registration now full.  Email us to be placed on a wait list.


Where to stay?

We have set up two room-blocks that you can take advantage of:

The Stoke Hotel has a special room rate of $89.99 + tax / night, includes continental breakfast, and new outdoor hot tub. You can book rooms at a discounted rate so long as there is availability so we recommend booking your accommodation as soon as possible. To receive this rate you must call the hotel directly at 1-877-837-5221 and state that you are with the “CMI group.” This hotel is located across on the west side of the highway but is still an easy walking distance to the college.  Ask them to direct you to the river-side path that will take you under the highway bridge.

If you prefer to stay on-site and in the downtown core of Revelstoke, the Regent Hotel is offering a rate of $129.99 = tax / night, includes hot buffet breakfast. You can book rooms at a discounted rate so long as there is availability so we recommend booking your accommodation as soon as possible. To receive this rate you must call the hotel directly at 1-888-245-5523 and state that you are with the “CMI group.”

If you are wanting to camp, we recommend the Lamplighter Campground which would only be about 10-15 mins walk from the college. This campground is well-maintained and has all the amenities. 250-837-3385.



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

Mailing Address

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