AP2A61-Experimentation and Data Analysis

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Prof Michael Shaw

Email: m.w.shaw@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

To provide students with a framework in which to analyse and interpret data arising in agricultural and ecological experimental contexts

Assessable learning outcomes:
Effective presentation of datasets typical of the student’s main area of study, to show location, spread or relationship as appropriate, correctly using whisker-plots and similar, scatterplots, and extensions to spatially located samples
Sound description of concepts of: significance; summary statistics of location and spread; sources of chance variation; analysis of variance; correlation; principle components.
Ability to design an experiment with two factors and variation between units requiring blocking
Ability to conduct analysis of variance and regression analysis with standard software and interpret the results in a context similar to the student’s main area of study
Recognition of specific elementary flaws in experimental design

Additional outcomes:
Critical approach to presentation and summary of data in all areas of life
Greater numeracy
Improved confidence and selectivity with computer-based data-handling and analysis

Outline content:
Critical understanding of experimental data is crucial to good decision-making in almost all parts of life, and land-based occupations are no exception. This module provides a working understanding of the logic of experimental design, practice in meaningful presentation of data, and the rationale of the most common statistical methods used in land-based science.

Content includes
Data presentation methods and how they help (or otherwise) to clarify patterns and meaning
They key problem: telling real effects from chance variation: signal from noise
Analysis of variance
Breaking complex questions into simpler ones
Principles of experimental design in the presence of background variation
Relationships between two (or more) measured characteristics

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Problem/literature-driven explanations of concepts
Practice in applying concepts using paper- or computer-based tools and widely used software
Specific data-set simulations and computer-based experimental design tools
Explanation and discussion of discipline-based published examples
Self-study of reference text

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 5
Practicals classes and workshops 15
Guided independent study 50 10 10
Total hours by term 80.00 10.00 10.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Set exercise 40
Class test administered by School 60

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:
Computer-based tests and simulations

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    By coursework (test).

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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