Observing Animal Behaviour: Design and Analysis of Quantitative Data

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OUP Oxford, Oct 18, 2007 - Nature - 158 pages
This book introduces the reader to the power of observation before, and sometimes instead of, experimental manipulation in the study of animal behaviour. It starts with simple and easily accessible methods suitable for student projects, before going on to demonstrate the possibilities that now exist for far more sophisticated analyses of observational data. At a time when animal welfare considerations are attracting political as well as scientific debate, the potential for non-intrusive studies on animals is being increasingly recognized. Observation emerges as a valuable alternative approach, often yielding highly informative results in situations (such as on zoos, farms or for wild animals) where more invasive experimental techniques would be undesirable, unethical or just plain impossible. However, to justify its place alongside experimentation as a rigorous scientific method, observation needs to be just as disciplined and systematic and have just as much attention paid to project design in the way that observations are made and recorded. Observing Animal Behaviour takes the reader through all these stages: from the initial observations, to the formulation of hypotheses, and their subsequent testing with further systematic observations. Although designed principally as a companion text for advanced undergraduate and students taking courses in animal behaviour, this accessible text will be essential reading for anyone wanting to study animal behaviour using observational methods rather than experimentation, and assumes no previous knowledge of animals, statistics or scientific method. It will be of particular relevance and use to those professional researchers and consultants in the behavioural sciences who seek a compact but comprehensive introduction to the quantitative observation of animal behaviour.

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Contents

Asking the right question
14
When all you need is one
43
Three principles of observational design
52
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Marian Stamp Dawkins is Fellow and Tutor in Biological Sciences at Somerville College Oxford and Head of the Animal Behaviour Research Group in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK. She is a foremost authority in the field of animal behaviour, widely admired for the clarity of her thinking and writing, and particularly well known for her pioneering work on animal welfare.

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