Study design in ecology and conservation

Presented by How should a study be designed to ensure that it effectively addresses the identified research question? 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 interactive presentation by us on study design, 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. Main aims and goals: To convey key elements of study design, including randomization, replication, interspersion, and common types of sampling strategies for selecting sampling units To have participants apply these principles to case studies so that the advantages and disadvantages of different sampling strategies are highlighted To highlight common problems during study design, particularly for observational studies Target audience: Students conducting or planning to conduct research in ecology/conservation science Workshop organisers: Advait Edgaonkar and Kavita Isvaran