Statistical Analysis for Biologists

From - science and maths webcomic

From – science and maths webcomic

First up: What are statistics?


Here is the presentation with information on Excel and a worked set of examples with hummingbirds, to tie in with the natural selection topics. Also, skip on over to the Excel StatBook resource, for a set of examples, tables, graphs and significance tests that you can play with.

This presentation was used in my class as a collaborative task. I shared a copy with each student for them to make notes. If you want o use it, I would recommend doing your own before-after quiz. Ours looked at pre- and post-assessment data on the Classification unit.

And Geoff Browne kindly gave permission to upload his t-test powerpoint to slideshare:

Updated Essential Biology 01 Statistical Analysis

T-test practice (printable GoogleDoc here):



Gapminder awesome human population stats tool. Watch Hans Rosling’s brilliant Joy of Statistics here. For a short clip:

And this enlightening talk from Han Rosling: No More Boring Data!

Click here for a funny article on the 9 circles of scientific hell.

Also, play with this: Google Correlate.


Using your calculator:

Using the TI GDC (from Click4Biology)

Using the Casio pdf download (from

– Using the TI NSpire:


Statistics in Action:

‘Real’ acupuncture no more effective than fake acupuncture, from ScienceDaily

Evidence Based Medicine First, medical website explaining the false health claims of many alternative medicines.

Here’s a nice profile on Edzard Ernst, the world’s first professor of alternative medicine. He has spent his career trying to get alt-med in line with real science.

Ed Yong, MrT’s blogging hero, writes for Cancer Research UK on the WHO’s verdict on mobile phones and cancer. Correlation vs cause!

Epidemiology: The Science of Cohort Studies. How do we generate lifetimes’ worth of data in studies in medicine? Ben Goldacre’s BBC Radio 4 documentary, Science: From Cradle to Grave. An amazing discipline to work in, and one birth cohort study has been running for over 65 years!


TOK Discussions:

Facebook Gives You Cancer” err…

And another peach from XKCD:

Significance from

Significance from

Correlation, from DogHouse WebComic

Correlation, from DogHouse WebComic

The problem with error bars, from Cheezburger.

Key terms: t-test, mean, variability, data, reliable, significance, sample, excel, calculate, correlation, graph

  1. Very useful I.B. stuff!

  2. Susana E. Sulzberger

    Thank you very much for sharing your work.

    I found that you presentation is very helpful to learn statistics.

    Best regards,


  3. Your resources are always fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing. I, and my students, really appreciate your hard work and effort.


  4. Your awesome!! Thank you for sharing

  5. Hi Steve the question numbering is a little out on the essential Biology notes. I took the liberty of changing the numbering and formatting a little:

    I hope you don’t mind.


    P.S. The wikispace is a new thing as the box and wordpress don’t work very well this side of the Great Firewall of China

  6. Hi Stephen,

    I find all your presentations extremely useful. I would like to donate to your charities and have access to some of your new presentations. I was just wondering are they editable and are they available as power points rather than pdfs?

    Thanks again,


    • Hi Heather,

      Most of the presentations which can currently be downloaded are as pdf, as they were made originally on SMART Notebook and converted. I don’t use SMART Boards here in my new school and have switched to Mac, so am kind of stuck with them!

      There are some more recent ones made in Powerpoint, such as for the Genetics unit. Any which can’t be downloaded directly from SlideShare are likely to be powerpoint and editable.

      I hope this helps,


  7. Dear Stephen,
    your presentations on statistical analysis were very clear and easy for my kids to understand as well.
    thanks a million for sharing. I was wondering if you had any practice problems on statistical analysis which could be given as a dry lab.
    I usually give them some data and they process those data and analyze the same.

  8. You, sir, are an IB god sent from above to aid me in my conquest to attain a 7 in HL IB Biology! I THANK THEE.

  9. Hey its was great presentation…..I never understood the importance of t test. It is explained in such a lucid and clear manner. Hope this improve my PhD work.

  10. I agree the fact that you are so helpful, not only to my students, but to me as a first year IB Bio HL teacher is priceless.

  1. Pingback: Statistics: Links

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