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ERIC Number: EJ991403
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 3
ISSN: ISSN-0965-948X
Animal Behaviour Fieldwork: Introducing Psychology Students to the Process of Science
Dickins, Thomas E.; Donovan, Peter
Psychology Teaching Review, v18 n2 p9-15 Aut 2012
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.
British Psychological Society, Division for Teachers & Researchers in Psychology. St Andrews House, 48 Princess Road East, Leicester, LE1 7DR, UK. Tel: +44-1162-529551; Fax: +44-1162-271314; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom