We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

Experimental Design for the Life Sciences

Fourth Edition

Graeme D. Ruxton and Nick Colegrave

Publication Date - October 2017

ISBN: 9780198717355

208 pages
9.7 x 7.4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $49.99


The careful design of experiments lies at the core of good research. Experimental Design for the Life Sciences equips you with the skills you need to effectively design experiments, making this essential aspect of the research process readily understandable. It demonstrates how good experimental design relies on clear thinking and biological understanding, not mathematical or statistical complexity.

With a refreshingly approachable and articulate style, the book walks you through the considerations that go into designing an experiment in clear, practical terms. Using examples drawn from across the life sciences - from ecology, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and health sciences - the authors illustrate how these concepts are applied within the broad context of real biological research.

Online Resource Centre
The Online Resource centre to accompany Experimental Design for the Life Sciences features:

For students:
DT Self-test questions and answers
DT Additional examples
DT Supplementary sections discuss complex concepts and statistical issues in more depth
DT Links to useful websites and free software

For lecturers:
DT Suggested course structures, complete with practical exercises
DT Figures from the book, available to download


  • Thorough but student-friendly approach to experimental design that aims to stimulate, rather than intimidate.
  • Walks you step-by-step through the different stages involved in designing an experiment, how different research questions will lead you to different types of experimental design, and how different designs suit different kinds of data analysis.
  • Theoretical concepts are reinforced with a broad range of examples to demonstrate the practical relevance of experimental design across the life sciences.
  • Self-test questions, with answers at the end of the book, encourage students to check their understanding as they progress, and reinforce essential facts.
  • Discussion of ethical issues raises awareness of this important aspect of experimental design.

About the Author(s)

Graeme D. Ruxton, Professor, University of St Andrews,Nick Colegrave, Lecturer in Biology, The University of Edinburgh

Previous Publication Date(s)

October 2010
March 2006
February 2003

Table of Contents

    1. Why you should care about design
    2. Starting with a well-defined hypothesis
    3. Selecting the broad design of your study
    4. Between-individual variation, replication, and sampling
    5. Pseudoreplication
    6. Sample size, power, and efficient design
    7. The simplest type of experimental design: completely randomized single-factor
    8. Experiments with several factors
    9. Beyond complete randomization: blocking and covariates
    10. Within-subject designs
    11. Taking measurements