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13 - Observing and Manipulating

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 September 2019

Joanna M. Setchell
Affiliation:
Durham University
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Summary

To test predictions, we either observe natural variation and use statistical analysis to account for variation in covariates to estimate the influence of the variable we’re interested in, or we control variation in a planned manner, by manipulating one predictor variable and holding others constant. In this chapter, I review good study design and the strengths and weaknesses of observation and manipulation. I then explain that although it is easiest to describe observations and experiments separately, they lie at opposite ends of a continuum of researcher-imposed control on a study system.

Type
Chapter
Information
Studying Primates
How to Design, Conduct and Report Primatological Research
, pp. 167 - 176
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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References

Leavens, DA, Bard, KA, Hopkins, WD. 2017. The mismeasure of ape social cognition. Animal Cognition. A thorough treatment of confounded two-group comparisons in comparative psychology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071–017-1119-1.CrossRef
Altmann, J. 1974. Observational study of behavior: Sampling methods. Behaviour 49: 227267. https://doi.org/10.1163/156853974X00534. Section 1B covers manipulative and non-manipulative research.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Field, A, Hole, G. 2003. How to Design and Report Experiments. London: Sage Publications Ltd. Chapter 3 gives more detail on experimental designs.Google Scholar
Janson, C. 2012. Reconciling rigor and range: Observations, experiments, and quasi-experiments in field primatology. International Journal of Primatology 33: 520541. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764–011-9550-7. Covers how and why we seek to control variation in predictor variables, experiments and observations as endpoints of a continuum of control, and the benefit of generalised linear mixed models in primatology.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sagain, R, Pauchard, A. 2012. Observation and Ecology: Broadening the Scope of Science to Understand a Complex World. Washington, DC: Island Press. Documents the shift in approach from observation and discovery to a heavy focus on experimental manipulation in ecology and makes the case that observational research is critical.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stamp, Dawkins M. 2007. Observing Animal Behaviour: Design and Analysis of Quantitative Data. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapter 5 covers observational study design.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zuberbühler, K, Wittig, RM. 2011. Field experiments with nonhuman primates: A tutorial. In: Setchell, JM, Curtis, DJ (eds.). Field and Laboratory Methods in Primatology: A Practical Guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Reviews experimental designs and stimuli used in field experiments with wild primates, including common problems.Google Scholar

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