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Course Information

Instructor Info:Patricia Brennan
TA Info:Sara Berk
Term: 2013S
Meeting Info: Wednesday
09:00 AM - 11:50 AM Adele Simmons Hall (ASH) 221

This class will help refine your knowledge of research methods needed to propose and carry out studies of animal behavior, with emphasis on avian behavior. We will read papers from the primary literature that emphasize the use of particular methods, and we will discuss the main techniques that are used to design and carry out behavioral studies on birds. We will collect data on both wild (ducks, passerines) and domesticated birds (chickens). Students will carry out a project during the semester, including data collection, analysis and presentation, and submit a paper. The paper will include proposal of an experiment that could form the basis of continuing your research further. We will have three birding trips on Saturday mornings, and students are expected to attend unless they have a documented conflict. Although the class will emphasize techniques to study avian behavior, projects on other taxa will be considered, particularly if the student has demonstrated interest in a particular group. We will spend time outdoors in cold weather. Students will need to collect data independently and out of class hours. We will analyze data using common statistical techniques.

Course Objectives:



•Learning techniques and methods for gaining new knowledge in this subject
•Developing the ability to conceive and carry out independent work
•Developing specific skills or competencies, such as artistic techniques, production methods, laboratory methods, quantitative techniques, qualitative methods, or computer applications
Moderately important:
•Gaining an understanding of theories, fundamental concepts, or other important ideas.
•Learning to understand professional/scholarly literature.
•Developing skill in critical thinking.
•Developing skill in problem solving.
•Developing creative capacities.
•Developing the ability to work collaboratively with others 
Evaluation Criteria:

Attendance and participation in class.  We will do a lot of work in class so no evaluation will be given if student misses 3 or more classes.

Quality of assignments.  

Quality of final paper and presentation (IND, QUAL, WRI)

Additional Info:

We will do 3 bird watching trips this semester on Saturday mornings.  Students are expected to attend, but must arrange their own transportation.  We will discuss options during class.