Animal behaviour fieldwork: introducing psychology students to the process of science

Conference paper


Dickins, Thomas E. and Donovan, Martin 2012. Animal behaviour fieldwork: introducing psychology students to the process of science. HE Academy STEM Conference. London: Imperial College 12-13 April 2012
AuthorsDickins, Thomas E. and Donovan, Martin
TypeConference paper
Abstract

In this paper we discuss the development and running of a residential animal behaviour field trip. The trip has a number of elements that challenge and develop the students. First, this trip is open to students at levels two, three and M. This allows us to engineer a certain amount of peer assisted learning. Second, the students live together and have to cook and maintain the property. This leads to teamwork and sensible methods of dealing with disagreement. Third, the academic work is curiosity led. We expose the students to a number of field sites and allow questions to naturally emerge. From these questions we can develop project hypotheses. Fourth, the students develop appropriate methods for observation and analysis. Fifth, theory is gradually introduced through discussion in the field, the accommodation and at a drop in surgery at the tavern where they can talk one-to-one with a staff member. Finally, when back at University, they can engage in more formal supervision to complete their project. The benefits of this approach are many but include developing a sense of the scientific process, which is lacking in the more prescriptive class-based assessments that typically form research methods teaching. Finally, all of the students report feeling better prepared for future scientific project work.

Keywordsfieldwork; ethology; scientific method; observational method
Year2012
ConferenceHE Academy STEM Conference
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Publication dates
Print12 Apr 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Jun 2012
Web address (URL)http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/stem-conference/Psychology/Tom_Dickens_Peter_Donovan.pdf
http://hdl.handle.net/10552/1603
Additional information

Citation:
Dickins, TE and Donovan, M (2012) 'Animal behaviour fieldwork: introducing psychology students to the process of science', HE Academy STEM Conference, London: Imperial College, 12-13 April 2012.

Place of publication12-13 April 2012
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/85z2v

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