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

Dickins, Thomas E. and Donovan, Martin (2012) Animal behaviour fieldwork: introducing psychology students to the process of science. In: HE Academy STEM Conference, 12-13 Apr 2012, London, UK.

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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.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
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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.

Research Areas:A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Behavioural Biology group
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
ID Code:9444
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Deposited On:06 Nov 2012 09:14
Last Modified:17 Aug 2015 16:10

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