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General statistics for use in environmental science



7.5 credits




This is a Master’s level course that covers the statistics used in environmental science. It covers the most common statistical methods and deals with parametric and non-parametric statistical models, as well as models for continuous response variables using normal distribution of residuals and models for categorical responses with binomial distribution of error terms.

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Valuable knowledge for many professional fields Knowledge of statistics is vital to be able to understand the information in scholarly publications, as well as extremely valuable if you want to contribute to the future development of knowledge. Mathematical statistics therefore not only opens up career paths in mathematics, but in many other areas of research and even in professions such as market research, financial analysis and environmental consultancy. Read about research in this subject
Understand and discuss basic statistical concepts This course teaches you how to discern and discuss basic statistical concepts: independent observations, ordinary least squares, maximum likelihood, generalised linear models, analysis of variance/deviance and error distributions, as well as to explain the importance of independent observations in sampling data for statistical analysis. You will also learn how to describe the ideas of significance testing by comparing variance explained to random variance, as well as to independently report standard descriptive measurements and construct and interpret generalised linear models with normal and binomial error distributions. In addition, you will examine and explain the limitations of statistical results; are they globally valid or only valid for the specific experimental set-ups, to which population do they refer, how could confounding (not measured) variables explain the results? Course design The course is taught through lectures, practical exercises, computer-based exercises and seminars. You can also participate in guest lectures and research seminars. Grades are awarded on basis of continual assessment through hand-in assignments.
A vital tool for describing the world Statistics is an important tool for describing the world around us and understanding and explaining the processes that create the patterns we observe. All natural systems, including humankind, consist of objects and individuals that are somewhat alike but also varied. We can use statistics to describe similarities and variation, allowing us to compare individuals and larger groups with each other. Using statistics, we can also draw conclusions about entire populations, even though we only study samples with a limited number of individuals. Statistical methods are used to analyse the results of different types of experiments and investigations. By using objective statistical tools to determine whether we have a positive or negative result, we can avoid subjective assessments, which reduces the risk of misinterpreting the result.