Dr. Mark Gardener
Dr. Christine Gardener

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Statistics? Don't Panic!

If you are learning biology, ecology, geography or environmental science then sooner or later you will have to deal with a load of numbers: in short, statistics. I began writing spreadsheets to help myself learn statistics when I was an undergraduate. After many years of tinkering the result is a suite of spreadsheets called "Don't Panic". In one form or another Don't Panic has been used by A-level students as well as undergraduates and more recently MSc students.

A vaiety of analytical routines are included including: t-test, U-test, Spearman Rank, Chi Squared, ANOVA and Kruskal Wallis (see below for list). Each analysis shows the user how the test works and provides macros to produce editable graphs of the results (e.g. bar charts or box-whisker plots). Don't Panic is available from only GBP 15.00 for individual users. To find out more read on or .

Look here for a Statistics decision chart
The main menu in Don't Panic leads the user to the correct analysis for their data using a flowchart. The user can click on a decision box to get a pop up text box that helps with that particular decision. Once the final test is selected a click on the appropriate box takes the user to the screen for that particular test.

The main menu leads the user to the right analysis
Each routine is designed to fit on a screen. You get to see summary notes regarding the use of the test as well as any formulae used. You type your data into the input area and any intermediate calculations are shown. You can see the final result summarized with critical values and level of significance. In addition there are plenty of pop-up boxes that provide aditional guidance. At the bottom are a variety of buttons that permit the user to produce (via macros) editable graphs.

Each analysis provides a complete summary with notes as well as the input data and mathematical steps used in the routine
Don't Panic produces a variety of graphs, depending upon the analysis. Typically you can produce a bar chart (with error bars), box and whisker plot and a variety of frequency distribution plots. The example shown on the right is a frequency distribution of two samples displayed opposite one another for comparison.

Examples of graphs that may be produced using Don't Panic

Don't Panic analyses

Don't Panic is designed as a teaching aid for students and teachers/lecturers. It handles fairly small sample sizes (typically 25-30 replicates although the z-test will take 125), although this covers most typical small A-level and undergraduate projects. The analyses that Don't Panic provides include the following:

Student's t-test
Mann-Whitney U-test
Z-test (for large samples, up to 125 replicates)
The above tests are also available in paired form (e.g. Wilcoxon Matched Pairs)
Analysis of Variance (one-way, including Tukey HSD post-hoc analysis)
Kruskal Wallis non-parametric "anova" (including post-hoc test)
Spearman Rank Correlation
Simple Regression analysis (Pearson)
Chi Squared test for association
Goodness of fit tests (Chi Squared and G test)
Runs test
Nearest Neighbour analysis


Obtaining Don't Panic

Don't Panic is available direct from us. At present we have no shopping basket so for details (we accept PayPal and can email the program as an attachment). The cost is GBP 15.00 for individual users. For institutions we can negotiate but 10 copies seems reasonable.

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