This workshop will discuss important elements of study design that help towards effectively answering questions in ecology and conservation. These issues include how to identify and distribute sampling units and avoid bias while doing so; what inferences can and cannot be drawn from particular research designs; what spatial and temporal scales are appropriate for answering different kinds of questions; and finally some general advice on making inferences from the statistical analysis of ecological data. Throughout, we will use examples to make concepts as clear as possible. After a brief presentation by us on the design of good ecological research, students will split into small groups and discuss different case studies. Representatives from each group will then lead discussions on the strengths and weaknesses of their designs, and on how to improve them to obtain better results.