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Multivariate Analysis for
Ecologists: Step-by-Step

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Multivariate Analysis for Ecologists: Step-by-Step

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Preface

Is this book for you?

    This book is a guide for individuals who are making their first attempts at applying multivariate analysis tools to community datasets. This means that although the analysis tools are described in what I hope is a fairly comprehensive manner, the organization of the book, instructions for how to run the analyses, and the examples are all geared toward the beginner. You will find this book helpful if any of the following apply:

  • you are unfamiliar with multivariate statistics in general
  • you are unfamiliar with community datasets in particular
  • you are unfamiliar with the PC-ORD software
  • you are not satisfied with the explanations given in the multivariate references you already have

 

What’s in this book

    This book is the required companion book for the workshops/webinars I teach on this subject, used in lieu of a handout.  The structure thus parallels the ten step analysis process I propose.  Step 1 is intended to get you ready to conduct the analysis—refreshing your statistical background and clarifying your analysis objectives.  Step 2 is getting your dataset ready for analysis using the PC-ORD software.  Step 3 is to structure your matrices to address your analysis objectives.  Step 4 focuses on exploring your dataset to make sure you understand its properties, while Step 5 is about selecting the analysis tools that will best achieve your objectives.  Step 6 involves manipulating the dataset, when needed, to meet those objectives and fit those tools.

    Each chapter in Step 7 focuses on a different analysis tool, allowing you to direct your attention to only those you wish to apply.  For each procedure, I provide a conceptual description of what you can do with it and when you might use it, what it actually does, what the results mean, how to run it, what you get in the output, what you should know about its strengths and weaknesses, how to run it in PC-ORD version 7, and then a little on how to interpret it.   There are certainly more ways to use the tools discussed in the book than the few presented here, but I hope the descriptions provided will at least get you thinking about the application of these tools.

    Finally, Step 8 briefly reinforces the need to seek confirmation of your results before turning to interpretative tools in Step 9 and communication in Step 10.  Supplemental information, including instructional materials, is provided in the Appendices and online.