On occasion the society provides opportunities for professional development for members and paying non-members.

Science writing – nailing down a good discussion

Facilitator: Dr Naomi Cogger, EpiCentre, Massey University

Conducted during the Annual Conference in Taupo, August 2014

This 90 minute course covered the essentials for discussing your results in technical reports and peer reviewed papers. The key differences between the two were discussed, as well as what extra information is required to convert from a commercial report to a robust scientific paper, concentrating on the discussion.

Study design, to data, to analysis

Facilitators: Nihal De Silva, Mark Wohlers, and Patrick Connolly, Plant & Food Research

Conducted during the Annual Conference in Taupo, August 2014

This 90 minute course was all about getting the design right at the start of the study so that the results have the power to detect a difference between groups (e.g. sprayed or unsprayed) if one truly exists. The course covered common study designs for plant protection and expanded to more advanced study designs, discussing the key design elements for each. Finally, sample size, power calculations and analysis for different study designs were covered, including the factors that need to be considered when working them out. Some easy online calculators were introduced for assigning sample sizes for different study designs.

Introduction to R

Facilitators: Aaron Williams and Nicolas Meurisse, Scion

Conducted during the Annual Conference in Taupo, August 2014

This 90 minute course gave a brief introduction to the language and capabilities of R. The training materials are available here:

Eat the Elephant: Scientific results writing made easier

Facilitator: Dr Anne Gunson, Senior Science Editor, Science Publications Office Manager, Plant & Food Research

Conducted during the Annual Conference in Napier, August 2013

This 90 minute course aimed to take the pain out of constructing a concise and meaningful scientific paper. The main focus was on effective writing for the introduction, methods and results sections.

Are Bayes nets for you?

Facilitator: Dr Ann Nicholson, Associate Professor, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Conducted during the Annual Conference in Napier, August 2013

This short introduction to Bayesian networks covered the basics of what they are and what they can be used for. Bayes nets are semi-quantitative models that allow predictions to be drawn from incomplete information. They are often used in situations where data are poor or non-existent, and where expert opinion is drawn on. Thus, they can be a powerful research tool in many ecological contexts.

Introduction to epidemiology

Facilitator: Dr Naomi Cogger, EpiCentre, Massey University

Conducted during the Annual Conference in Nelson, August 2012

Epidemiology is the study of pests or diseases in populations. To date the techniques have been applied widely to better understand pests and diseases in human and animal populations. This course provided participants with an introduction to epidemiology principles such as causation and observational studies.

Case studies, drawn from a range of species and problems (e.g. varroa mite on bees in NZ), were used to illustrate the potential applications of epidemiological methods to plant protection science.

Data management

Facilitator: Dr Naomi Cogger, EpiCentre, Massey University

Conducted during the Annual Conference in Nelson, August 2012

This course covered the types of data that can be collected (quantitative versus qualitative and types within each) and the key differences between them when it is time for analysis. Participants explored data management and structure (how to make it easy to input into a stats package or give to your biostatistician). The course covered the use of summary statistics (central tendency, outliers, standard deviations, handling of missing values etc.) both to inform the statistical analysis models to use for different data types and how to report these descriptive statistics in reports or papers.

The course was a mix of theory and practical hands on working with datasets in Excel.