Environmental Research Methods: Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods

Course Description: 

The aim of this course is to prepare students to choose the most appropriate quantitative (statistical) method and effectively apply it to answer a research question. A framework will be provided for basic descriptive and inferential statistical techniques to show how the choice of data analysis is determined by the question asked and the nature of data available/recorded. The objectives are: to learn about the main types of the basic descriptive and inferential statistical analyses applied in environmental research and their specific tasks; to appreciate assumptions and limitations of the analyses; to be able to run these analyses in Excel and SPSS for Windows, and; to know how to interpret the outputs produced.

Learning Outcomes: 

Knowledge and understanding:

- Have practical knowledge and basic understanding of the scientific method, and the main types of basic descriptive and inferential statistics applied in environmental research.

Intellectual skills:

- Be able to choose, or advise others to choose, the most appropriate quantitative method to address a research question.

- Be able to read documents/papers that contain basic descriptive and inferential statistics knowledgeably.

Practical skills:

- Be able to perform some basic descriptive and inferential data analyses using Excel and SPSS for Windows , interpret the statistical result and translate that back into the words of an environmental research issue.

Transferable skills and personal qualities:

- Learn to ask appropriate questions about the problem, to design experiments or sampling programmes optimally and effectively communicate environmental research results.

Assessment: 

pass/fail based on attendance in course and required outputs