Study unit
3513070 Principles of scientific inquiry in forest ecology and biodiversity research, 3 Cp  
Code 3513070  Validity 18.03.2013 -
Name Principles of scientific inquiry in forest ecology and biodiversity research  Abbreviation PriSciEco 
Credits 3 Cp Date of expiry  
TypeAdvanced Studies Subject0951 Forestry 
ClassStudy Unit  Hours  
Study right   Grading0-5 
Recommended scheduling 
Organisation Forest Sciences (J) 

Jari Kouki 

Learning outcomes 

To systematically explore the elements and general approaches of scientific inquiry in ecological, conservation biological and biodiversity studies. Defining clear research questions and hypotheses, planning and conducting surveys, designing, sampling and executing field experiments are covered. Also, how inferences can be made, how should they to be related to ecological theories, and what are the common restrictions and limitations shall become familiar. The course is non-technical and places emphasis on understanding the general logic of scientific inquiry and of the major pitfalls experienced. The knowledge obtained is applicable in a wide variety of practical situations where scientific inquiry is applied.


The process of scientific inquiry and argumentation, different methodological approaches, field surveys, experiments and their general requirements, hypotheses, controls, randomisations, replications, pseudoreplications, measurements and their confidences, precision and accuracy, power of statistical inference, sample size, indicators and monitoring.

Modes of study 

Introductory lecture (4 h), facilitating midpoint lecture (2 h), literature examination or exercises, closing discussion (4 h).  Attendance in lectures and closing discussion is required. Student answers in the examinations will provide material for the closing discussion.

Study materials 

Feinsinger P. (2001) Designing field studies for biodiversity conservation

Ruxton, G.D. & Colegrave N. (2010) Experimental design for the life sciences, 2nd ed.

Evaluation criteria 



Professor of forest ecology


Spring semester 2022.

Lectures will be in January and March, and the closing discussion in late April or early May. After the midpoint facilitation lecture, students are asked to take literature examination or complete the exercise. Attendance in lectures and closing discussion is required.



Further information 

Number of participants is restricted to 20, and the course is primarily available to the students majoring in forest ecology and biodiversity module. The course is taught in alternate years in Finnish or in English. In spring 2022 the course is taught in English.


Letter (J, K) in front of the name of the course/exam indicates the campus on which teaching or exam takes place: J = Joensuu, K = Kuopio.

Present and future teaching
Functions Name Type Cp Teacher Timetable
Registration ended
J: Principles of scientific inquiry in forest ecology and biodiversity research  Web course  Jari Kouki  19.01.21 -20.04.21

Future exams
No exams