Statistical methods are indispensable to the practice of science. But statistical hypothesis testing can seem daunting, with P-values, null hypotheses, and the concept of statistical significance. This article explains the concepts associated with statistical hypothesis testing using the story of “the lady tasting tea,” then walks the reader through an application of the independent-samples t-test using data from Peter and Rosemary Grant's investigations of Darwin's finches. Understanding how scientists use statistics is an important component of scientific literacy, and students should have opportunities to use statistical methods like this in their science classes.
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Vol. 81 • No. 8