Course Title


Course Code


Offered Study Year 1, Semester 1
Course Coordinator Lu Lanyuan (Assoc Prof) 6316 2866
Pre-requisites None
No of AUs 3
Contact hours Lectures: 18, Laboratories: 12, Tutorials: 10
Approved for delivery from AY 2016/17, semester 1
Last revised 12 Oct 2018, 08:29

Course Aims

This course aims to provide an overview of the importance of biostatistics in the scientific design of experiments and in the data collection processing, analysis and interpretation of the life sciences. Students will learn the basic theory, computational skills, and applications of statistics in biology.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon successfully completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Calculate the normal, binomial and Poisson distributions for a set of data
  2. Import and process data in SPSS
  3. Interpret output from SPSS data manipulation
  4. Conduct regression analysis on a biological datasets
  5. Select appropriate types of statistical tests for practical problems
  6. Determine necessary sample size for experiments
  7. Use Chi-square test to compare experimental data and model estimation
  8. Compute "error bars" in data representation
  9. Summarize data using figures and tables
  10. Design a statistically meaningful hypothesis for a scientific problem

Course Content

The importance of biostatistics in the conduct of biological experiments

Data and graphs (pie, scatter, histogram, and bar charts), tables of data

Basic statistics concepts (mean, standard deviation)

Probability distribution and estimation (normal & how to compute probability)

Binomial distribution (formulas and calculation)

Poisson Distribution (formulas, calculation and relationship with binomial)

Hypothesis testing (z-test and t-test)

ANOVA (test for more than two groups) and correlation/regression

Non-parametric methods (methods for categorical and ranked data)


Component Course ILOs tested SBS Graduate Attributes tested Weighting Team / Individual Assessment Rubrics
Continuous Assessment
Written Report 2, 3 1. a
2. a, b, c, d, e, g, h
3. b
5. a, c
7. a, b
40 individual See Appendix for rubric
Examination (2.5 hours)
Multiple Choice Questions 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 2. a, b, c, e
3. b
5. c
7. a, d
30 individual
Short Answer Questions 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 2. b, c, d, e
3. b
5. c
7. a, d
30 individual See Appendix for rubric
Total 100%

These are the relevant SBS Graduate Attributes.

1. Recognize the relationship and complexity between structure and function of all forms of life, resulting from an academically rigorous in-depth understanding of biological concepts

a. Possess a conceptual framework that identifies the relationships between the major domains in the field of biology.

2. Critically evaluate and analyze biological information by applying the knowledge, scientific methods and technical skills associated with the discipline

a. Identify the assumptions behind scientific problems and issues

b. Create and evaluate hypotheses

c. Create abstract models of data

d. Design experiments relevant to authentic problems and their models

e. Analyze the validity of qualitative and quantitative scientific data

g. Evaluate the results of their own experiments and decide on the next step

h. Identify unintended results as opportunities for discovery

3. Develop and communicate biological ideas and concepts relevant in everyday life for the benefit of society

b. Display and explain scientific results clearly and persuasively to peers both verbally and in writing (includes the ability to graph data appropriately and accurately).

5. Develop communication, creative and critical thinking skills for life-long learning

a. Learn independently and then share that knowledge with others

c. Demonstrate critical thinking skills such as analysis, discrimination, logical reasoning, prediction and transforming knowledge

7. Demonstrate information literacy and technological fluency

a. Locate and evaluate information needed to make decisions, solve problems, design experiments, and understand scientific data

b. Work effectively with common technologies in biology

d. Complete online learning independently

Formative Feedback

A. You will be asked questions in the lectures using ResponseWare, and the answers will be explained. (This helps you to achieve intended learning outcomes 1 and 4-10)
B. The grades of lab reports will be available on NTULearn, and discussion on the grades are possible. (Intended learning outcomes 2-3)
C. Important points summarized from your questions during the semester will be discussed in the last revision lecture. (Intended learning outcomes 1 and 4-10)
D. The summary of the final exam results will be provided on NTULearn.(Intended learning outcomes 1 and 4-10)

Learning and Teaching Approach

(18 hours)

Lectures include both classroom lectures and online lectures.

In classroom lectures, multi-media materials and clicker questions will be adopted, apart from traditional lecturing. (Intended learning outcomes 1 and 4-10)

Online lectures can be accessed on NTULearn. (Intended learning outcomes 1, 5 and 9)

(12 hours)

You will have four computer labs at SBS computer lab and will write a lab report for each lab. (Intended learning outcomes 2 and 3)

(10 hours)

The tutorials are open for consultation and students may clarify their doubts about any of the topics cover through the 5 online lectures.

Reading and References

Biostatistics: the Bare Essentials, 3rd Edition, by Norman and Streiner; ISBN-13: 978-1550093476

Course Policies and Student Responsibilities

1. You are supposed to read the lecture notes on NTULearn before a lecture.
2. Further reading of the textbook (Norman and Streiner) is recommended after lectures.
3. You should complete the online lectures independently.
4. You are required to submit your lab reports before the deadlines.
5. Graphic calculators with advanced statistic functions are not allowed in the final exam.
6. Appointments are necessary for any consultations after class.

Academic Integrity

Good academic work depends on honesty and ethical behaviour. The quality of your work as a student relies on adhering to the principles of academic integrity and to the NTU Honour Code, a set of values shared by the whole university community. Truth, Trust and Justice are at the core of NTU’s shared values.

As a student, it is important that you recognize your responsibilities in understanding and applying the principles of academic integrity in all the work you do at NTU. Not knowing what is involved in maintaining academic integrity does not excuse academic dishonesty. You need to actively equip yourself with strategies to avoid all forms of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, academic fraud, collusion and cheating. If you are uncertain of the definitions of any of these terms, you should go to the Academic Integrity website for more information. Consult your instructor(s) if you need any clarification about the requirements of academic integrity in the course.

Course Instructors

Instructor Office Location Phone Email
Lu Lanyuan (Assoc Prof) 03s-82 6316 2866

Planned Weekly Schedule

Week Topic Course ILO Readings/ Activities

Introduction of biostatistics


(Online) Presentation and Summarization of data


Normal distribution and confidence interval

1, 2, 8

Computer lab: Introduction of SPSS


Hypothesis testing I

5, 10

Hypothesis testing II

5, 10

Analysis of variance

6, 10

(Online) Post hoc analysis

5, 10

Correlation and regression

3, 4, 5, 10

Computer lab: Student's t-test


Chi-square test

5, 7

Non-parametric tests

3, 5, 10

Computer lab: ANOVA and regression


(Online) Binomial and Poisson distributions



1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Computer lab: Non-parametric tests

Appendix 1: Assessment Rubrics

Rubric for Laboratories: Written Report (40%)

You will need to submit four lab reports for each of the computer labs in the course. Each lab corresponds to 10% of your total mark.

The scoring policy for each lab is as follows (10% total)

  1. Participation in lab activities (2%)
  2. Overall organization and clarity of the report (2%)
  3. Correct answers with clear statement of reasons for the exercise questions (6%)

Rubric for Examination: Short Answer Questions (30%)

You will need to answer six short answer questions in the final exam, using your scientific calculator and the information in the appendix of the exam paper.

Each question is marked out of 10 and the total score is scaled to 30%. The scoring policy is as follows.

  1. If no calculation is involved, you will have the mark if the answer is correct and reasons are given.
  2. If the question involves calculation:
    1. You will have high score (8-10 marks) if your formulas, reasoning and the final answer are correct.
    2. You will have medium score (4-7 marks) if your formulas are correct, while the final answer is wrong, or some of your reasoning is incorrect.
    3. You will have low score (<4 marks) if your formulas and reasoning are wrong.
  3. If a question consists of multiple steps, the score will be distributed appropriately to the steps.

Appendix 2: Intended Affective Outcomes

As a result of this course, it is expected you will develop the following "big picture" attributes:

Appropriate attitude towards the accuracy and precision of statistical analysis

A realisation that experimental results always have some uncertainty and require interpretation

A correct view that many scientific conclusions are only valid in the statistical sense

A good habit of adopting quantitative methods in biological research