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SA 3124 - Animal Behavior (Fortier)

assignments and library resources for your project for Dr. Fortier's course


During the last weeks of laboratory you will give a 20 minute oral presentation to your colleagues. Your presentation is a chance to explore a behavioral topic in more detail; topics will be assigned to your group in lab. We want to turn to scholarly scientific articles to learn what is known about the subject. Scientific journals will provide the most reliable, up-to-date information on a subject. These journals rely on a process known as peer review. Before publication, the work of every author will be reviewed by at least two other scientists to determine whether it should be printed. Few other fields offer the level of self-policing that is commonplace in science.

How can you tell whether a journal really consists of original, scholarly research? If the author is reporting on someone else’s work, it is not original research. Journals such as Animal Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Ecology, and Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology contain original research. Discover, Science News, Life, National Geographic, and Boy’s Life do not. When in doubt, consult your instructor; stick with Google Scholar to simplify your life. You should use 3 or more references (all must be appropriate literature) and they may not all be from the same author. You must look at the writings of more than one individual to get a balanced view of the subject.

Your presentation must be in Powerpoint and should consist of the following sections:

Introduction: This section should explain why a topic is interesting or relevant to the audience (your colleagues). Too often, talks begin with the words "For our presentation, we chose to study x behavior . . . .". Try to make the material relevant to your audience from the outset – create a hook. Why is this subject of interest? Define any terms that may be unfamiliar and CLEARLY EXPLAIN THE ALTERNATE HYPOTHESES.

Discussion (Body): Never use the words "trust me" during a presentation. Instead, back up your statements with the appropriate data - show the class the graphs, figures, etc. from the papers that you’ve read through. Don’t overwhelm the audience with countless graphs. Instead, carefully review a limited number of findings in more detail (each figure should have the reference included as a footnote). Explain how various ideas/hypotheses are affected by these findings. Here’s a quick checklist for each paper presented:

What hypothesis did they test?

What were the predictions?

How did they test them?

What were the results?

Did they support the hypothesis?

Presentation Proposal

During lab, the Library will discuss appropriate methods for searching the online databases at DelVal. You must identify two distinct hypotheses and find a minimum of 3 scholarly references. Your instructor will explain the difference between scholarly and non-scholarly works.

After completing your search, submit this form listing all information below. You may NOT use websites!  Scholarly journals only.