AGRIC 3515WT - Agricultural Experimental Design and Analysis III

Waite Campus - Semester 1 - 2023

This course will provide students with a hands-on opportunity to develop practical skills in planning and undertaking statistically robust scientific research. This course will build on foundational knowledge gained in level 1 statistics (STATS 1000 or STATS 1004) and practical experience gained in PLANT SC 2510WT Foundations in Plant Science. Through a number of practical activities, students will collect a variety of data (soil, plant, environmental) from experimental plots located at the Waite campus. Students will be provided with the theory behind rigorous experimental design and analysis and supported to implement this theory in practice. Experiments will be established to allow a range of different statistical analyses including parametric, non-parametric and multivariate analysis. Statistical analysis will be performed on data collected, and students will learn how to interpret and communicate the results to a variety of audiences.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code AGRIC 3515WT
    Course Agricultural Experimental Design and Analysis III
    Coordinating Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s Waite Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 7 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites STATS1000, STATS1004, STATS 1504, ECON 1008 or equivalent
    Assessment Online quizzes, research proposal, research reports, oral/poster presentation
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Kate Delaporte

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    The course is timetabled on Fridays, 6 contact hours that equate generally to 2hrs of workshops/content delivery, 2hrs of workshops and computer practicals, and 2 hrs of field work and data collection.
    The format of activities isflexible, and it is expected that students attend the whole day.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    This course aims to help students see the ‘big picture’ of statistical reasoning in agriculture research, where research is taken in a sense much broader than academic research. Working through the course reader, currently based on the text by a famous statistics presenter Bryan Manly, supported with the working examples and case-studies presented in lectures, and applying the principles to simple hands-on problems  in general and agriculturual contexts, working independently and in groups, students will develop:
    1 Design small scale investigative studies
    2 Apply measurement and data collection protocols in sampling, surveys and experiments
    3 Use software to undertake advanced statisticl analysis
    4 Interpret, describe and explain multivariate interactions using statistics
    5 Effectively communicate research findings using appropriate language and terminology for a variety of audiences
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    1, 2, 3

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    4, 7

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.

    2, 3, 4

    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

    4, 5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    GenStat current release, available on the Waite campus and can be downloaded on personal computers of students enrolled in the course.

    ‘The design and analysis of research studies’, by Bryan F.J. Manly, Cambridge Press, 2001. The book is available from the University of Adelaide Library at Waite, but it is highly recommended that the students acquire their own copy to follow the weekly readings for the course and to use this book as a useful research resource afterwards.

    Additional reading and lecture notes are available on MyUni. From 2016, the course reader is also available for download from MyUni.

    Recommended Resources

    To revise the introductory statistics presented in a very relevant manner, the book by Alan G. Clewer and David H. Scarisbrick, Practical Statistics and Experimental Design for Plant and Crop Science, Wiley, 2001, is highly recommended (first five chapters in particular)

    Online Learning

    MyUni: Teaching materials and course documentation will be posted on the MyUni website (

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    The course is presented in three parts:

    1) Hypothesis generation, experimental design and data collection and managmenent

    2) Statistical decision making, analyses, on-farm trials and understanding significant differences

    3) Communication of findings

    All three parts are supported by experimental trials run by students/you, with data collection from agriculture-related settings: in threedifferent zones on Campus, being the Waite Arboretum, the Birdcage and an under cover environment. You will hypothesise, design and install a plant growth trial; maintain it and collect data, and finally analyse and report on your findings.

    Learning activities include team-work and individual problem solving.

    The course assessment is continuous, with three small quizzes and three larger assignments based on your field trials across the semester.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).

    Learning Activities Summary

    The course will be comprised of workshops and practicals. Over the semester there will be approximatgley (12x4 hr) 48 hrs of workshop and (12x2hr) 24hrs of practical work. The principles of inquiry based and discovery learning will underpin all aspects of this course.

    Workshops will be segmented into 1 hr sessions and used to deliver theoretical content and provide an opportunity for students to work through the analysis and interpretation of data. Workshops will also be used present case studies including but not limited to animal experimentation (including animal ethics), agrichemical trials, precision agriculture and large data set management. Industry experts and practitioners will be provide real life context and examples.

    The practical sessions will take place across a variety of field and glasshouse locations across the Waite campus including but not limited to the Waite Arboretum, field trial “bird cage” and glasshouses.

    Topics covered will include:
    • Hypothesis generation
    • Experimental design (sampling, replication)
    • Data collection and management
    • Statistical decision making
    • Commonly used analyses (parametric and non-parametric; multivariate analysis; regressions)
    • On-farm trials
    • Understanding significant difference
    • Data presentation
    • Communication of findings
    • Industry application/perspective (guest presenters from relevant fields)

    Specific Course Requirements

    Attendance of contact hours is highly recommended, as all the activities are important for self-learning and team-working. 

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    The assessment is continuing throughout the semester and consists of
    individual student reports, online quizzes and a group project presentation. The schedule and weighting of the assessment is given on the MyUni site.

    Research Project reports assess the student’s ability to design a small-scale research trial; establish, maintain and monitor their trial; collect and analyse the data, and prepare reports to describe the process and their results.

    Online quizzes enable students to review their understanding as the course progresses.

    The Group research project presentation assesses the students’ ability to communicate the results of the Research Project to their peers. Students have the opportunity to undertake peer/self evaluation.

    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Hurdle Learning Outcome
    Online Quizzes Formative & Summative

    30% No 1-4, 7
    Individual Reports Formative & Summative 40% No 1-5
    Group Research Project presentation Formative & Summative 30% No 1-7

    Assessment Related Requirements

    The course focuses on practical group work with individul assessments. The Group Research Report presentation will involve all students as presenters. Students have to negotiate themselves the equal load for the group practical work. All individual reports are strictly individual assignments.

    Assessment Detail

    Online quizzes (30%): Three quizzes (multiple choice, short answer and scenario based problem solving) delivered via MyUni which assess the theoretical knowledge required to understand and apply statistics to a variety of agricultural context. These will be delivered in week 2, 6 and 9 of semester. Students will have 2 attempts at each quiz with incorrect answers indicated but feedback not provided until both attempts are submitted.

    S1 Research Plan (10%): Students will develop hypotheses relating to differences in the field sites listed above (Arboretum, bird cage etc) and/or protected growth facilities, and growth of sunflowers at these different field sites. Students will be required to; propose an experimental design to test their hypothesis, detail the data that will be collected and how it will be managed, detail the appropriate statistical analysis that will be used, determine the limitations of their experimental design and possible risks that may need to be mitigated. The research plan, hypothesis and proposed experimental design will be supported by relevant literature.

    S2 Research Methods (10%): Students will describe the methods followed data collected, from the experiment proposed in their research plan (above). Data will be collected on a variety of variables (see below). The research will include soil analysis, seed germination rates, seedling growth, and climate factors supported by appropriate statistical analysis.

    S3 Research Results and Discussion (20%): Students will report on the analysis, results and discussion of the S1 and S2. They will describe the analysis used and present information graphically and in written format, using a modified industry reporting template similar to those used by GRDC, MLA or Wine Australia. Students will report on the results of their research as outlined in their research proposal. 

    Group research presentation (30%): In small groups (3-5 students, grouped and based on the field sites listed above) students will present the findings from their research in the format appropriate for a scientific conference (this may be oral or poster presentation format). Peer and self-assessment will be incorporated into the group presentation



    Submissions of all assignments are strictly on the MyUni site only. Feedback will be prompt. For formative assignments, students will be given an opportunity to respond to the feedback in writing with the aim of improving their understanding.

    Late submission of assessments
    Late submissions are not negotiable for the group assignments.

    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. Penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.