Stephen DeStefano

USGS Massachusetts Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit

University of Massachusetts, Amherst


 

ECO 601 - RESEARCH CONCEPTS Course Web Page

Department of Environmental Conservation

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

 

Please note that this web site is currently being updated for Fall 2012.

 

Welcome to the ECO 601: Research Concepts course web page. Information on this page is for the graduate course in Research Concepts co-taught by Steve DeStefano and Allison Roy in the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. The course is a contribution of the U. S. Geological Survey's Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

 

If you find any mistakes or have any ideas or feedback for the course, please contact Steve DeStefano at sdestef@eco.umass.edu and/or Allison Roy at aroy@eco.umass.edu.

 

Below are links to pertinent information about the course, including lecture material and papers.

 

 

General Course Information and Syllabus:

 

Click HERE for the Course Description and Syllabus for Fall 2009

Click HERE for the Course Description and Syllabus for Fall 2010

Click HERE for the Course Description and Syllabus for Fall 2011

Click HERE for the Course Description and Syllabus for Fall 2012

 

 

Information on Proposals:

 

Click HERE for Proposal & Prospectus Guidelines

Click HERE for Proposal Example (northern goshawks in Arizona)

Click HERE forJournal of Wildlife Management Guidelines to Authors

 

 

PowerPoint Lectures and Lecture Notes:

 

Click HERE for Lecture on HISTORY OF SCIENCE

Click HERE for Lecture on PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE

Click HERE for Lecture on SCIENCE AND THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD

Click HERE for Lecture on THE CONCEPT OF THE NULL HYPOTHESIS

Click HERE for Lecture on NORTHERN GOSHAWK EXAMPLE: SCIENTIFIC HYPOTHESES

Click HERE for Lecture on STATISTICAL CONSIDERATIONS (coming soon!)

Click HERE for Lecture on RESEARCH DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS (coming soon!)

Click HERE for Lecture on DESIGNED EXPERIMENTS

 

Click HERE for Lecture Notes on Study Design Concepts (written by Dr. Kevin McGarigal)

Click HERE for Lecture Notes on Basics of Designed Experiments

Click HERE for Lecture Notes on Advanced Designed Experments

Click HERE for Lecture Notes on Title, Introduction/Literature Review, & Objectives

Click HERE for Lecture Notes on Conceptual Models & Methods

Click HERE for Lecture Notes on Conceptual Model Examples

Click HERE for Lecture Notes on The Scientific Review Process

Click HERE for Lecture Notes on Example Abstract, Implications, Schedule

 

Click HERE for PROPOSAL WRITING I -- INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW

Click HERE for PROPOSAL WRITING II -- THE LITERATURE

Click HERE for PROPOSAL WRITING III -- TITLES AND INTRODUCTIONS

Click HERE for PROPOSAL WRITING IV -- CONCEPTUAL MODELS

Click HERE for EXAMPLES OF CONCEPTUAL MODELS, PROPOSAL WRITING

Click HERE for PPT on Examples of Conceptual Models from Previous Students

Click HERE for PPT by the Wildlife Conservation Society on Conceptual Models & Strategic Planning

Click HERE for PROPOSAL WRITING V -- OBJECTIVES - DISCUSSION (OUTLINE EXAMPLE)

Click HERE for PROPOSAL WRITING VI -- BASIC BUDGET BUILDING (UMass OGCA site)

Click HERE for PROPOSAL WRITING VII -- WRITING GRANT PROPOSALS

(For much more information on writing and submitting grant proposals, go to the University of Massachusetts' Office of Grants and Contracts site HERE).

 

Click HERE for MAKING POWERPOINT SLIDES

 

 

Readings:

 

Click HERE for Mayr 1997 Chapter 1.

Click HERE for Mayr 1997 Chapter 2.

 

(1) McPherson 2001

 

Search on www.jstor.org or some other search engine for McPherson, G. M. 2001. Teaching and learning the scientific method. American Biology Teacher 63:242-245. (You will probably need to be on a UMass computer to access this and other articles.)

 

Optional: Click HERE for McPherson, G. M., and S. DeStefano. 2003. Applied ecology and natural resource management. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA. (Chapter 1: Integrating ecology and management.)

 

 

(2) Chamberlin 1890, Platt 1964, O'Donohue and Buchanan 2001

 

Search on www.jstor.org or some other search engine for these 3 papers:

 

Chamberlin, T. C. 1965. The method of multiple working hypotheses. Science 148:754-759.


Platt, J. R. 1964. Strong inference. Science 146:347-353.

 

O’Donohue, W., and J. A. Buchanan. 2001. The weaknesses of strong inference. Behavior and Philosophy 29:1-20.

 

 

(3) Romesburg 1981, 1989, 1991; Matter and Mannan 1989

 

Dowload and review these papers:

 

Romesburg, H. Charles. 1981. Wildlife science: gaining reliable knowledge. Journal of Wildlife Management 45:293-313. (Note: focus on the introduction and the sections titled "ESSENTIALS OF THE H-D METHOD", "OTHER PROBLEMS WITH WILDLIFE SCIENCE", and "CONCLUSIONS". Read the section on "SCIENCE AND PLANNING". Skim (lightly) the section on "TESTING THE THRESHOLD-OF-SECURITY HYPOTHESIS" [wildlife majors will want to understand the basis behind this idea]).


Matter, W. J., and R. W. Mannan. 1989. More on gaining reliable knowledge: a comment. Journal of Wildlife Management 53:1172-1176.

 

Romesburg, H. Charles. 1989. More on gaining reliable knowledge: a reply. Journal of Wildlife Management 53:1177-1180. (See Matter and Mannan 1989)


Romesburg, H. Charles. 1991. On improving the natural resources and environmental sciences. Journal of Wildlife Management 55:744-756.

 

 

(4) Gavin 1991, Hunter 1989, Anderson 2001

 

Download and review these papers:

 

Gavin, T. A. 1991. Why ask “why”: the importance of evolutionary biology in wildlife science. Journal of Wildlife Management 55:760-766.

 

Hunter, M. L., Jr. 1989. Aardvarks and Arcadia: two principles of wildlife research. Wildlife Society Bulletin 17:350-351.

 

Anderson, D. R. 2001. The need to get the basics right in wildlife field studies. Wildlife Society Bulletin 29:1294-1297.

 

 

(5) Hurlbert 1984, Oksanen 2001

 

Hulbert, S. H. 1984. Pseudoreplication and the design of ecological field experiments. Ecological Monographs 54:187-211.

 

Oksanen, L. 2001. Logic of experiments in ecology: is pseudoreplication a pseudoissue? Oikos 94:27-38.

 

 

(6) Null hypothesis testing

 

Cherry, S. 1998. Statistical tests in publications of The Wildlife Society. Wildlife Society Bulletin 26:947-953.

 

Mogie, M. 2004. In support of null hypothesis significance testing. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B (Supplement) 271:S82-S84.

 

 

(7) DeStefano and Steidl 2001, Lackey 2004

 

DeStefano, S., and R. J. Steidl. 2001. The professional biologist and advocacy: what role do we play? Human Dimensions of Wildlife 6:11-19. Click HERE.

 

Lackey, R. T. 2004. Normative science. Fisheries 29:38-39. Click HERE.

 

 

(8) Dickson and Conner 1978, Bloom 1999

 

Dickson, J. G., and R. N. Conner. 1978. Guidelines for authorship of scientific articles. Wildlife Society Bulletin 6:260-261.

 

Bloom, F. E. 1999. The importance of reviewers. Science 283:789.

 

 

Assignments:

 

The major assignment for this course will be the preparation of a draft of your proposal or prospectus for your dissertation, thesis, professional paper, or project. We will work on this over the course of the semester, building a proposal or prospectus a step at a time. You will also form into 3-4 person small groups; you will work with your small group throughout the semester. The goals for the small groups are for you to receive detailed feedback on your project and provide the same kind of feedback to others in your group.

 

For those of you who already have a proposal/prospectus, the assignment will be relatively easy, although you will likely want to refine and improve the draft that you have. For those of you who are just starting, writing a proposal/prospectus will be more of a challenge, but the goal is to have a working document -- a starting point -- from which to refine and improve your proposal/prospectus after you have completed this course.

 

The steps we will take are outlined in the syllabus. Don't be afraid to seek help from the instructors, the TA, your advisor, and, perhaps most importantly, your fellow graduate students, especially those in your small group in Research Concepts.

 

Additional information is provided in the lectures, although these are subject to change as we progress through the semester:

 

(1) Prepare a brief statement of your proposed research, as per instructions in the PROPOSAL WRITING I -- INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW PowerPoint lecture, HERE. (Slide titled: "The Proposal: First Assignment (1-2 pages)").

 

(2) Prepare a working title, a draft introduction (including objectives and questions), and at least 5 scientific citations for papers that will likely be important to your proposed research, as per instructions in the PROPOSAL WRITING II -- THE LITERATURE PowerPoint lecture (Slide titled: "The Literature Cited Section"), HERE, and PROPOSAL WRITING III -- TITLES AND INTRODUCTIONS PowerPoint lecture, HERE.

 

(3) Prepare your draft proposal based on the outline example and suggestions in the lecture on PROPOSAL WRITING V -- OBJECTIVES - DISCUSSION (OUTLINE EXAMPLE), HERE.

 

(4) Include a time-line or schedule of your activities, such as when coursework, fieldwork, analysis, and writing will take place.

 

More to follow!

Contact Information