This paper is from Session 7E: Statistics for biology and the health sciences
Full topic list
which comes under Topic 7: Statistics education and the wider society

(Thursday 15th, 11:00-12:30)

Statistics for the biological and environmental sciences: improving service teaching for postgraduates


  • Ruth Allen (Lancaster University, United Kingdom)



A challenge for statistics educators is to maximise the effectiveness of service teaching to nonstatisticians in order to create successful end-users of statistics, build research capability and to raise the profile of statistics within the wider community. In 2008 we undertook an evaluation of statistics service teaching within the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University. Collaborating with staff and students enabled a thorough study of the strengths and weaknesses of the course. Recommendations for how to make the course more suitable for occasional users in the biological sciences were made. An evaluation of the revised course was completed in 2009 and the results, presented here, are compared with feedback from 2008. We demonstrate that with close collaboration between all departments, making swift and tangible changes based on ‘real’ suggestions by the students who take the course is the only way to reach specific users.