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Biology Lab Manual Workshops: Data Workshop

Help for students in introduction to biology labs: using Excel, conducting a literature review, and citing using CSE

Data Workshop Presentation

Excel Step-By-Step

Enter your data into Excel

Click in an empty cell.  Select Formulas-->More Functions--Statistical.  The two functions are AVERAGE and MEDIAN.  AVERAGE will give you the arithmetic mean


Alternative Method:

Click an empty cell.  Type =AVERAGE(1st cell: last cell)

=MEDIAN(1st cell: last cell)

There are two ways to calculate Standard Deviation in Excel.  NOTE: There are multiple formulas for calculating Standard Deviation (Population vs Sample).  Be sure to choose the correct type.

1) Type in the formula: =STDEV(1st number:last number)

2) Use the Function section.  Find STDEV in the alphabetized list.  

Step 1: Enter your data into Excel.  Label your columns so you don't confuse your information.  In this example, I got the number of women in Texas who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy and the number of women who did not have gestational diabetes in their pregnancies.  I then found the percentage of pregnancies with GDM.

Step 2: Highlight the data you want to include in your figure.  I selected the percentage of pregnancies with GDM.

Step 3: Find the INSERT tab.  In your version of Excel, this may look different.

Step 4: In the INSERT menu, find the CHARTS option.  The two most frequently used charts will be Column and Line, which I've highlighted below.  Your figure will be automatically created by Excel.

Step 5: To change the labels on the horizontal axis, right click in the chart (find a section that doesn't have any data--otherwise, the pull-down menu will not appear).  Click SELECT DATA

Step 6: Click the Edit under Horizontal (Category) Axis Labels

Step 7: Highlight the cells that have your horizontal axis labels (in this case, it's years)

Now you can copy and paste this figure into your document.

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Sample Excel File


Different versions of Excel might look slightly different!  This is especially clear when creating Charts. 

Look around, hover your mouse over icons, and look for the same terms used in the top of your screen.