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This text manual introduces statistical analysis and its underlying philosophy, enabling students to understand how to describe the confidence they have in their analysis.

Statistical analysis is one of the most widely used, and abused, techniques in the biological sciences. Statistics are ostensibly used to allow an investigator to be objective. That is, the researcher uses statistical tests to determine whether or not his/her hypothesis is supported by the data collected.

Unfortunately, the choice of the particular statistical test is often not objective and the underlying limitations of individual tests are often ignored or unknown by the researcher. Yet statistical analysis, when appropriately applied, allows scientists to examine the probability that their hypotheses are or are not supported by the data collected.