BIOL 3763 Biostatistics
I teach this every fall semester. The course provides an introduction to how probability and statistics influence thinking, discovery, and decision making in the biological and biomedical sciences. I emphasize the use of logic and clear definitions of assumptions as related to research questions and concepts in biology. I prefer students learn to recognize when quantitatively defined models are consistent with particular scientific questions that arise in all fields of biology. This is an important distinction from traditional statistics courses that emphasize the derivation and application of equations. The course requires minimal arithmetic, instead relying on computation for that part of applications.
This interactive course addresses the topics of data types and distributions, study designs, and probability. That is followed by an introduction to inferential statistics, and a brief survey of common data models. The primary goal of this course is to provide students an opportunity to become quantitatively literate through the study of concepts, interactive class activities, computation, and a semester-long original research project.
By the end of the semester, students will be able to identify, interpret and evaluate the basic statistical designs, results, and conclusions that are commonly encountered in the biology and biomedical literature. Students will understand how the tenets of probability, good sampling design, and appropriate data analysis are used to inform science-based conclusions. They will be able to analyze and evaluate claims made in popular media, and will be able to communicate effectively with research professionals and statisticians.