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14 - Choosing Measures

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 September 2019

Joanna M. Setchell
Affiliation:
Durham University
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Summary

Good research design includes choosing what to measure and how to measure it. We can’t measure everything. Fortunately, clear predictions dictate the measurements we need to make to test them. This chapter provides general advice on methods, then covers the importance of the validity, accuracy, sensitivity of the measures we use. I end with a reminder that methods must also be feasible.

Type
Chapter
Information
Studying Primates
How to Design, Conduct and Report Primatological Research
, pp. 177 - 184
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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References

Buckland, ST, Plumptre, AJ, Thomas, L, Rexstad, EA. 2010. Design and analysis of line transect surveys for primates. International Journal of Primatology 31: 833847. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764–010-9431-5. Reviews common errors in primate surveys, the assumptions underlying the standard method, and potential alternatives for when the standard approach won’t work.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rust, NA, Abrams, A, Challender, DWS, Chapron, G, Ghoddousi, A, Glikman, JA, Gowan, CH, Hughes, C, Rastogi, A, Said, A, Sutton, A, Taylor, N, Thomas, S, Unnikrishnan, H, Webber, AS, Wordingham, G, Hill, CM. 2017. Quantity does not always mean quality: The importance of qualitative social science in conservation research. Society and Natural Resources 30: 13041310. https://doi.org/10.1080/08941920.2017.1333661. Explains when, why, and how qualitative methods should be used in conservation studies. Recommends collaboration between natural and social scientists.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Setchell, JM, Fairet, EFM, Shutt, K, Waters, S, Bell, S. 2017. Biosocial conservation: Integrating biological and ethnographic methods to study human–primate interactions. International Journal of Primatology 35: 401426. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764–016-9938-5. Reviews three case studies combining natural and social science methods to yield insights that would not have been obtained using a single approach.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shutt, K., Setchell, JM, Heistermann, M. 2012. Non-invasive monitoring of physiological stress in the Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla): Validation of a fecal glucocorticoid assay and methods for practical application in the field. General and Comparative Endocrinology 179: 167177. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2012.08.008. An example of a detailed biological and immunological validation of a non-invasive assay for glucocorticoids.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Städele, V, Vigilant, L. 2016. Strategies for determining kinship in wild populations using genetic data. Ecology and Evolution 6: 61076120. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.2346. Explains why it is difficult to assess kinship among members of wild animal populations without detailed multigenerational pedigrees and outlines ways to address this.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Martin, P, Bateson, PPG. 2007. Measuring Behaviour: An Introductory Guide. 3rd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Excellent advice for measuring behaviour.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Methods in Ecology and Evolution. A journal of the British Ecological Society that publishes new methods in ecology and evolution.
Setchell, JM, Curtis, DJ. 2011. Field and Laboratory Methods in Primatology: A Practical Guide. 2nd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Technical and practical aspects of field and laboratory methods, including remote sensing, GPS and radio-tracking, dietary ecology, and non-invasive genetics and endocrinology.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wyatt, TD. 2015. The search for human pheromones: The lost decades and the necessity of returning to first principles. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 282: 20142994. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.2994. A cautionary tale of wasted scientific effort as a result of researchers not checking the evidence behind claims made in the literature.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

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