Tips for writing a good methods section

Following our last post on writing good Introduction and Abstract, we discussed what a good Materials and Methods section should look like.

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  • The golden rule to writing a good methods section is to ask yourself whether your reader could replicate your study based on just the information you provided. Sufficient information should be provided so anybody could repeat your experiment and produce similar results. The challenge is to write this as concisely as possible. You are not conducting a high school experiment, so don’t have to tell the readers that you washed your test tubes or recorded field data with a blue ball point pen! Continue reading

New Oikos article about plant movement & invasions

Yvonne and Paul Caplat et al. published a Forum paper on Oikos on the “Movement, impacts and management of plant distributions in response to climate change: insights from invasions” to synthesis the discussion of the ESA-meeting 2011.

A brief summary of the paper can be found on the Oikos journal blog:

You can download the article for FREE here:


How to write a good abstract and introduction

During the last lab meeting, each lab member read a scientific article and analysed the factors that contribute to good abstract and introduction.

Exchanging ideas and experiences in scientific writing. Photo: Hao Ran Lai.

Exchanging ideas and experiences in scientific writing. Photo: Hao Ran Lai.


1. Broad statement (1 sentence)

  • Statement of broad field of research/context
  • Introduces the ecological concept/problem
  • What we know of the field
  • Competing and unresolved explanations

2. Narrow down the problem (1 sentence)

  • Significance to the problem
  • Consequences of the problem
  • What we’re going to do about it
  • Brief description of an hypothesis that could resolve the problem
  • Indicating the research gap Continue reading

2013 Winter School Seminar, University of Queensland

Yvonne recently gave a talk at the 2013 Winter School in Mathematical and Computational Biology at the University of Queensland (1-5 July) on “Management of invasive species, pests and diseases: making decisions in an uncertain and complex world”.

You can download a video of the talk here

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EcoStats Symposium 11-12 July 2013

Author: Kristylee Marr and Yvonne Buckley

Honours student Kristylee Marr and Yvonne attended the EcoStats Symposium at the University of New South Wales on 11-12 July 2013 ( . This event was organised by ecologist and statistician David Warton ( discuss current issues and future directions at the ecology-statistics interface.

There was a strong species distribution modelling flavour to the first day. There is a huge demand from ecologists for methods for building niche/distribution models using widely available but problematic presence-only data.  This has led to philosophical differences in the field, alternative methodologies and numerous commentaries and as one speaker put it “much heat and little light”. Continue reading