Category Archives: Data and analysis

Trust your collaborators?

How many wasps are on this nest? What are their unique identifying marks? How many eggs, larvae, and pupae are in the nest? How many times does a given wasp dominate another? These are the questions that gave the numbers … Continue reading

Posted in Collaboration, Data and analysis, Ethics | 15 Comments

Get your undergrads thinking about analysis from the start

The last post talked about making sure undergrads get the big picture of their questions. This is essential, but it is not the end. All too often analysis is left for the end and there is no exploring. Ideally, students … Continue reading

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Teach statistics the same way you teach baking a chocolate cake

We have wonderful undergraduates and we are failing them. We are failing in something important and I plan to fix it. That we are failing became very clear to me this past spring at their poster presentations. Generally the posters … Continue reading

Posted in Data and analysis, Experimental design, Research, Undergraduates | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Help your writing with this clear rubric

What goes in the introduction? Why did she tell me to write the methods  first? Why should anyone care about my results? How can I convince them? Why did I do this project anyway? An excellent rubric can help. In … Continue reading

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You can’t be too careful with documenting your science

Once upon a time we simply kept graphs and tables in our lab notebooks. We kept videos of behavior and the transcripts from those videos. For decades I kept huge binders of printed computer output. I kept those long hole-punched … Continue reading

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Keep your research honest, unbiased, comprehensive, and blind

Science cannot advance on fraudulent publications, whether the problems are big or small. We all know the basics of honest research, but there are also things we need to be taught. These are based on understanding our inadvertent tendencies to … Continue reading

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Why you shouldn’t say “data not shown” or “personal communication”

What makes something science is not so much the subject matter as the process. Scientific information is obtained by clear methods that others should be able to repeat. It is above all based on evidence. There are lots of different … Continue reading

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Put some drama into your lab notebook!

My daughter’s Bellaire High School history teacher told us once at an open house that she did not want her students to learn what happened, but instead to learn why it happened. I felt joyous, knowing my daughter was in … Continue reading

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How many significant digits?

Just because your statistical package spits out values that look like this: 0.243444128999 or 984112.6868688670 or even a modest 23.3421 does not mean that they have a place in your life, your paper, or even your analysis. Round them off … Continue reading

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