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Statistics LibreTexts

Book: Biological Statistics (McDonald)

The goal in that class is to teach biology students how to choose the appropriate statistical test for a particular experiment, then apply that test and interpret the results. In my class and in this textbook, I spend relatively little time on the mathematical basis of the tests; for most biologists, statistics is just a useful tool, like a microscope, and knowing the detailed mathematical basis of a statistical test is as unimportant to most biologists as knowing which kinds of glass were used to make a microscope lens. 


  • John H. McDonald (University of Delaware)

Thumbnail: John Snow is famous for his investigations into the causes of the 19th century cholera epidemics, and is also known as the father of (modern) epidemiology. He began with noticing the significantly higher death rates in two areas supplied by Southwark Company. His identification of the Broad Street pump as the cause of the Soho epidemic is considered the classic example of epidemiology. Snow's map, demonstrating the spatial clustering of cholera deaths around the Broad Street well, provided strong evidence in support of his theory that cholera was a water-borne disease