SCIE4402 Data Management and Analysis in the Natural Sciences

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Multi-mode
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Multi-mode
Semester 1AlbanyMulti-mode
Semester 2AlbanyMulti-mode
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours core unit in Agricultural Science; Botany; Conservation Biology; Environmental Science; Marine Science; Natural Resource Management; Zoology [Bachelor of Science (Honours)]
  • Honours option in Geographical Science; Marine Science [Bachelor of Science (Honours)]
This unit provides students with the data management and analysis skills required for research in a range of natural sciences, including agricultural science, botany, conservation biology, ecology, environmental science, marine science, natural resource management, agricultural and environmental economics, and zoology. The first part of the unit provides essential foundation knowledge and skills for all students, while in the second part of the course, there are several options and students select the options most relevant to their research area and interests. The whole course takes an applied approach, focussing on developing clear hypotheses or questions; designing experiments or surveys to address these questions; exploring, understanding and analysing the resulting data; and finally drawing relevant and justifiable conclusions. The statistical software program R is introduced as a powerful tool for managing, presenting, and analysing biological, environmental and economic data. The course covers the classical analysis methods likely to be of most use to natural scientists, such as t-tests, proportion tests, chi-squared tests, linear regression, analysis of variance, and general linear models, with an emphasis on the applicability and limitations of different methods in different situations. The options in the second part of the course will include approaches for dealing with situations such as more complex experimental designs; multivariate species abundance data; species count data; germination data; growth data; human, environmental or ecological survey data; and survival data, through methods such as generalised linear models, mixed-effects models and multivariate analysis.
Students are able to (1) develop clear questions or hypotheses regarding natural or agricultural systems; (2) design experiments or surveys to collect data to address these questions; (3) have a broad overview of the analysis methods likely to be of most use to natural scientists; (4) have a more detailed understanding of linear modelling including regression and analysis of variance (ANOVA) approaches and more sophisticated approaches relevant to their research area; (5) appreciate the applicability and limitations of different analysis methods in different situations; (6) use computer software to manage, present and analyse data appropriate to their research area; and (7) draw relevant and justifiable conclusions based on their data analysis.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) quizzes and (2) assignments. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr James Fogarty and Dr Michael Renton
Unit rules
enrolment in a postgraduate course or honours; STAT1400 Statistics for Science or STAT1520 Economic and Business Statistics or STAT2210 Biometrics 1 or SCIE1104 Science, Society and Data Analysis or SCIE4401 Data Use in the Natural Sciences or ENVT4422 Research Methods in Environmental Science
Contact hours
5 days (1 day per fortnight). The total workload for the unit is 150 hours.
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.