Biological Experimental Design Concept Inventory (BEDCI)


Students often struggle to comprehend basic concepts that must be applied to design non-biased, effective experiments when posing research questions. Whichever career path biology graduates choose, a good understanding of the principles behind effective experimental design can lead to better informed choices (after all, virtually all political, social, medical and economic decisions are made based on the analysis of data that arises from the completion of experiments).

Development Timeframe

This concept inventory has been through two comprehensive rounds of undergraduate student validation, as well as a primary feedback focus group with experts (instructors and graduate students). It was piloted as a pre/post test in one first-year biology class (January – April 2012), and minor adjustments have subsequently been made. The BEDCI has since been validated for a final time by experts, and is fully completed. It has been used in five different courses at UBC (September 2012 – December 2012, and January 2013 – April 2013).

Number Of Questions

This inventory features 14 multiple-choice questions, focusing on eight different concepts (including the importance of independent sampling, randomization, and the philosophy of experimentation).


Thomas Deane and Kathy Nomme have worked together in completing this inventory.


The Biological Experimental Design Concept Inventory (BEDCI) has now been published in CBE – Life Sciences Education (Fall 2014).

Read the paper here.

Download the BEDCI Package

You can download the files that make up the complete Biological Experimental Design Concept Inventory (BEDCI) Package by clicking here.

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