Stats Refresher for Biologists in “R” Software

  • Start Date: November 03, 2021
  • End Date: November 05, 2021
  • Time: 8:30am-4:00pm
  • City: Revelstoke BC
  • Venue: Okanagan College - Revelstoke campus, 1401 1 St W
  • Instructor: Dr. Carl Schwarz
  • Double-vaccination required to attend this in-person course

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 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 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, recently retired from the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, Simon Fraser University. Carl has taught many courses with CMI over the years and after a short break imposed by COVID19 he’ll teach with us again come fall 2021.

Carl has won many awards including the SSC Award for Impact of Applied and Collaborative Work.


Required software

  • Base R and Rstudio (available for Mac, Linux and Windows systems)
  • Adobe Reader
  • Microsoft Excel

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 Terra Firma’s Kitchen and there is an option to add in bagged lunches for $14/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. You can also register for the Intro to R course taking place the day before this course commences via the same link.

Registration now full. You may email Hailey to be placed on a waiting list


Where to stay?

We have set up a discounted group rate at the Stoke Hotel of $109 + tax /night, or $119+tax /night for double queen room. Hot breakfast included, outdoor hot tub on site. When booking your room ask for the “CMI rate.”


COVID19 Protocol

CMI will be following the guidelines provided by the Province of BC’s Public Health Authority to keep us all safe during the COVID19 Pandemic. See here for current protocols – all students must review this document before the field component of this course.


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

Mailing Address

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