APPENDIX 4B Basics of Statistical Analysis

  1. Diane M. Thomson

Published Online: 1 JUN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470089941.eta04bs03

Current Protocols Essential Laboratory Techniques

Current Protocols Essential Laboratory Techniques

How to Cite

Thomson, D. M. 2010. Basics of Statistical Analysis. Current Protocols Essential Laboratory Techniques. 3:4B:A.4B.1–A.4B.22.

Author Information

  1. Joint Science Department, Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges, Claremont, California

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JUN 2010
  2. Published Print: JUN 2010


The goal of this appendix is to introduce basic methods in graphing and data analysis and explore some fundamental concepts in statistical reasoning. Three examples of data-analysis problems relevant to molecular biology are used to illustrate methods covered in a first statistics course, including the two-sample t test, simple linear regression, and chi square tests for goodness of fit and contingency table hypotheses. The appendix also explores the selection and interpretation of appropriate summary graphs for these analyses, including the use of error bar plots, scatterplots, and bar charts. In addition, a number of key terms and concepts are introduced and explained in the context of the three example problems, including summary statistics, sampling variation, the standard error, null hypothesis testing, the use of test statistics, and the interpretation of p values. Curr. Protoc. Essential Lab. Tech. 3:A.4B.1-A.4B.22. © 2010 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • data analysis;
  • graphing;
  • standard error;
  • two-sample t test;
  • linear regression;
  • chi square;
  • goodness of fit;
  • contingency table