Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

January 1965


Published in Journal of Animal Science 24:559‑567. Copyright © 1965 American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


Statistics should be considered as a tool by the animal experimenter in much the same way that a chemical analysis or a radiation counter is used as a tool. Too often statistics is considered as something magical which can restore order out of chaos and perhaps absolve the experimenter from mistakes in logic and procedure. It is true of course that the statistician through his knowledge of statistical procedures can sometimes help salvage some results from an otherwise hopelessly muddled experiment. One point must be made clear at the outset—the statistician is not a tool of the experimenter although statistics is such a tool. What then is the proper role of the statistician in biological experimentation? In this time of specialization, most professional men and women are highly trained in one aspect of one field of interest. The old cliche that continued education is simply “Learning more and more about less and less” is nevertheless cogently descriptive of our age.