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The Analysis of Biological Data Hardcover – Jul 1 2008
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“This book is engaging, intuitive, and with a coverage and pace that is perfect for a first statistics course in biology.”
—Allen J. Moore, University of Exeter
“Whitlock and Schluter have produced an introduction to statistics that is both accessible in its content and compelling in its examples—it should be read by every young biologist. This book will convince even the most reluctant student of the importance of statistical thinking in modern biology.”
—Patrick Phillips, University of Oregon
“At last, a book that brings back some of the joy in teaching statistics to biologists! It's a wonderful experience to teach to a class that actually enjoys the recommended text.”
—Simon Robson, James Cook University
About the Author
Michael Whitlock is an evolutionary biologist and population geneticist. He is a Professor of Zoology at the University of British Columbia, where he has taught statistics to biology students since 1995.
Dolph Schluter is Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Zoology Department and Biodiversity Research Center at the University of British Columbia. He is known for his research on the ecology and evolution of Galapagos finches and threespine stickleback.
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This textbook is both wonderfully informative and - something that has been said by very few people not destined to graduate with a degree in biostatistics, I'd wager - actually enthralling. Over and over, I was excited to see what the results of the examples were, ended up doing unnecessary practice questions just to see what they found out. (The consistency with which every single data set and experiment mentioned in the book is interesting is boggling.)
And the book makes sense! The book is very well-written and well-worded, with highly understandable explanations (and a sense of humor to ease frustration). Additionally, the math is accessible and understandable, even for those (like myself) who remember nearly nothing of calculus and have very poor mathematical intuition. For those more interested in the mathematical underpinnings, however, the book doesn't shy away from the proofs and functions - even when it admits that, at this point, tests are going to be completely computerized anyway.
I came into statistics knowing nothing but a general feeling of unease and frustration. Thanks mostly to this textbook, statistics seems actively *exciting* to me, and makes a lot of sense. I highly recommend it, for all levels of interest and skill.
Interesting Biology Examples, Intuitive explanation of key concepts, practical data analysis and experimental design, up to date basics, modern topics, and useful summaries/charts of concepts.
I'm amazed at how one can use an introductory book like this as a reference to point out flaws in highly academic, experimental studies in the scientific mainstream today.
I just recently finished taking this course this past semester, using this book as a reference. As previously mentioned, I took an introductory statistics course prior to my biostatistics course, which I found to be highly advantageous. This book, however, does a great job explaining the topics and demonstrating them using examples from recent scientific literature--a reference list is provided in the back of the book if you want to read any of the original articles. Perhaps having prior knowledge and familiarity with the material made learning from this book easier, but in my opinion, it seemed to do an effective job conveying all the critical information in a clean and organized manner. This book goes to great lengths to explain the topics in the context of a real-life scenario, rather than simply bombard the reader with endless equations, and for that reason, I feel as if it will be an effective learning tool for your course. If you have never had any previous exposure to statistics, it might be beneficial to pick up an inexpensive intro stats book (or do a few online searches) for a quick introduction prior to fully immersing yourself in the course.
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