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  1. #1
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Default NT's (or anyone else)...help?

    I figure this is your turf, but others that have experience with this, feel free to share.

    I have to hand in the title of my scientific research on Friday. And I have no clue how to go about picking one.

    Here's the background: I'm taking animal behavior classes (specifically geared towards cats for the moment), and I'm nearing the end. I learned a lot, and now, to graduate, I need to write a thesis. Now, I've done this before, but then the thesis was to translate a book. This time, it's a scientific research paper .

    It doesn't have to be 'up there', in fact, they consider everything we submit to be preliminary studies more than real scientific articles, due to lack of resources for instance.

    It's not that I don't find anything inspiring or interesting to do...but I'm scared shitless to pick something that's just...not feasible. I suck at practical shit
    So...I was thinking of doing something with the way that cats react to new objects or people in their territory. And..I was hoping to use my own group of cats. I have six at home, one male, five females and one of the females is a near feral cat. But I'm having trouble seeing it come together, and live up to all the criteria for a scientific research. If this is not feasible, I figure something with a questionnaire distributed at my previous job ( a veterinary clinic) would do the trick, but I have no topic for that yet.

    Can any of you walk me through this?
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  2. #2
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Omg, on Friday? Just 5 days?O_o
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  3. #3
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Don't have to hand in the research, just the title
    ★ڿڰۣ✿ℒoѵℯ✿ڿڰۣ★





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    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Omg, on Friday? Just 5 days?O_o
    There's nothing wrong with some extra temporal motivation(and yeah ok, just the title)

    I really really dunno, i have a test in 2 hours and i should start studying -coughs
    Expression of the post modern paradox : "For the love of god, religions are so full of shit"

    Theory is always superseded by Fact...
    ... In theory.

    “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
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    "Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."
    Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BCE

  5. #5
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    Well finding and writing a theisis sucks, I know that problem havent found mine aswell.

    Basically you should think about what subfield of i.e. cats you know the most about and find the most intresting. Like for example you've seen research about someone teaching a cat to memorize numbers via sounds.

    Then you have to create a general outline of the topic, should be a broad field, like "The perception of the world from the Point of View of a cat"

    And then you have to make a claim. And the claim will be what you will discuss in your theisis. Thze claim shouldnt be a question, just a claim, like:
    "The perception of the world from the Point of View of a cat and the possibility to teach them to memorize numbers via teaching them by sounds"

    Most of all dont think too much about the semantics. Your university will help you on that. And dont think too much at all about it or you end up like me, searching for nearly a year for a theisis lol.

    Just think about what you like. For example: I like cats and I know alot anbout how to raise them. Et voila your topic is: "About the raising of cat colonies and the field study of the results of the application of the new raising method called Amargith Mark II"

    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

  6. #6
    Pumpernickel
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    HAHA a thesis on cats!!! That is so cool!!

  7. #7
    Boring old fossil Night's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by entropie View Post
    Well finding and writing a theisis sucks, I know that problem havent found mine aswell.

    Basically you should think about what subfield of i.e. cats you know the most about and find the most intresting. Like for example you've seen research about someone teaching a cat to memorize numbers via sounds.

    Then you have to create a general outline of the topic, should be a broad field, like "The perception of the world from the Point of View of a cat"

    And then you have to make a claim. And the claim will be what you will discuss in your theisis. Thze claim shouldnt be a question, just a claim, like:
    "The perception of the world from the Point of View of a cat and the possibility to teach them to memorize numbers via teaching them by sounds"

    Most of all dont think too much about the semantics. Your university will help you on that. And dont think too much at all about it or you end up like me, searching for nearly a year for a theisis lol.

    Just think about what you like. For example: I like cats and I know alot anbout how to raise them. Et voila your topic is: "About the raising of cat colonies and the field study of the results of the application of the new raising method called Amargith Mark II"

    Entropie gives good advice.

    I've highlighted how you should approach the skeleton of your research. Here are a few more tips:

    Keep it simple.

    Allow your research to speak for you; depending on the expectations of your thesis, you don't want to unnecessarily inject personal opinion as relevant supporting material.

    Properly cite your sources.

    Have fun. Sounds like an enjoyable topic.

  8. #8
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Tnx guys..you all make it sound so frigging easy...

    Right now, I'm thinking of doing research on the individuality in cats, personality as such. I have six very different cats with very different backgrounds. So If i take that as the only variable, and the environment stays the same, as will be the people/objects introduced...thoughts?
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  9. #9
    Geolectric teslashock's Avatar
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    Definitely listen to entropie's and Night's advice for using the a big idea to hone in on one specific research question/problem. You should try to be as specific as possible in your reseach (as an NP, this is something that has been turning me off from science as of late, but that's a whole other topic entirely). Back to the matter at hand...

    Quote Originally Posted by Amargith View Post
    Tnx guys..you all make it sound so frigging easy...

    Right now, I'm thinking of doing research on the individuality in cats, personality as such. I have six very different cats with very different backgrounds. So If i take that as the only variable, and the environment stays the same, as will be the people/objects introduced...thoughts?
    If you do something that seems as vague as that ^, then you are going to have to come up with concrete ways to quantify "background" and "personality." Upon first glance, it seems like discrepancies in your cats' backgrounds may be something hard to divide into concrete and quanitifiable categories. I'm assuming that you must know something substantial about your cats' backgrounds though if you are wanting to do this type of research, but I can't think of much off the top of my head that I personally would know about my pets' life histories other than where I acquired them (breeders, among the harsh, cruel world of the city streets, roaming about the fervent chaos of the wild, etc etc). In addition to background, personality is also something that you are going to have to break down into quantifiable categories. Perhaps some things like aggression, tendency to be sociable and/or reclusive, appetite, exploratory behavior...the list goes on and on. BUT...then you need some consistent way to measure those traits (ideally some type of experiment that generates quantifiable data...numbers are ideal). I'm hoping that there is an array of accepted experiments among the community of animal behaviorists (this is not really a field with which I possess an excess of familiarity), but surely there are experiments that scientists use to measure aggression, appetite, exploratory tendencies, and whatnot.

    Orrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, you could do something a bit more concrete and specific, especially if you are really trying to generate some worthwhile results. I've learned that when doing scientific research, making a question as narrow as possible is the best way to get interprettable data. Maybe something like: "Do cats have the capacity to recognize 3D shapes when presented with 2D shapes?" For something like that, you could repeatedly show your cats contour images of simple shapes (circles, squares, etc) and see if they can then use that information to recognize 3D objects (balls, boxes, etc). Then maybe you could also ask if cats have the capacity to recognize shapes based on sound (ie, you say ball, and the cat goes to a ball). Obviously you'd have to provide some type of incentive to manipulate the cats into cooperating with your research (and I'm clearly referring to some kind of tasty little processed piece of heaven that appeals to a cat's more primitive desires...)

    You should definitely stick to a topic that you can find a lot of background information on though...it will make your thesis look more legit by showing that the scientific community accepts your interests as something interesting (who left it up to those old fogies, I'm not sure ). Anyway, I hope that helped. I have been doing research for a few years now (I'm trying to get away from it though, as my field is really starting to vex me with the little room that is left to actually explore and innovate once we are bogged down by the fine details inherent to its complexity, but enough about me...).

    Basically, what good research comes down to is using experiments with one manipulatable variable to generate quantifiable [read: I've used that word repeatedly in this post because it is really important to science] data. Make sure that your proposal leaves room for that to happen, otherwise you'll just end up with a bunch of floofy bullshit that you can't analyze/interpret/apply to a bigger picture.

    Hope that helps!

  10. #10
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for your post, it did help.

    I've been reading this book that we are supposed to read for the class, and it is about the research done on cats. I've found something that seems close to what I want to do. I'll quote it here. Feel free to comment.

    Responses to novelty or unfamiliarity: 'cross-context stability'

    If stable behaviroal characteristics exist, it should be argued that they are most likely to be expressed in contexts where the animal has no prior knowledge of the circumstances(Mendl&Deag, 1995. Under conditions where the animal has no expectations or learnt rules about how to respond, it needs to revert to any underlying behavioral predispositions it might have. Such situations include encouters with novel or unfamiliar stimuli and circumstances, and it makes adaptive sense for an animal to respond in this 'automatic' way, allowing it to direct full attention to these potentially dangerous situations rather than to organising and moderating its behavior according to perviously learnt rules(cf. Fentres,1976; Mendl&Deag, 1995).

    If this argument is correct, one might expect a high degree of ocnsistency of individual or challenging situations. In fact, much of the research on individual differences in behaviour has involved using tests of this sort to examine 'boldness', 'fearfulness', 'timidity', 'emotionality' and so on, perhaps because these tests do indeed tend to produce consistent individual differences (see Sloan-Wilson et al.,1994). Although consistency may be observed in apparently different situations, if all these situations have a similar feature in common (e.g. exposure to novelty), it is questioniable wheter this can be referred to as 'rcoss-context' consistency because the underlying motivation in these situations remains the same (cf. Jensen, 1995).

    In the cat, Durr&Smith (1997) showed cross-time consistency in the behavior of cats in a number of different tests of rsponse to novely and unfamiliarity. Cross-situation stability was not formally assessed in this study, but the authors did calculate a median score for each cat across all tests types implying that there was some consistency across tests.

    Bradshaw&Cook (1996) studied the organisation of specific behavioural actions made by cats before and after a meal. They found that cats showed individual behavioural styles around feeding, although different behaviours were expressed differently in the pre-and post-feeding contexts. However, behaviours directed towards the unfamiliar observer appeared to show some consistency across both contexts, perhpas due to the novelty of the stranger's presence at mealtime. So, there is limited support for the idea that the same individual may exhibit behaviour in various unfamiliar or novel contexts. However, much more evidence is needed to confirm this hypothesis in cats.
    As I have six cats with different backgrounds, I could assess their reaction to foreign objects (by using objects they're very unlikely to have ever encountered before), in an attempt to help confirm or disprove this hypothesis. I'm just a little fuzzy on what *exactly/concretely* they mean with cross-context stability, and how to avoid it.
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