UWIN Week 2- Research Question Creation- fill out for post lab!
Make a copy of this Google Doc, and fill in as you discuss with your partner(s). After lab, “download as” a pdf or word doc, then upload to the post lab assignment for completion points. The answers to some of these questions will be needed for the post lab quiz.
Part 1: Create a Research Question
With your partner, start thinking about what you’ve learned between the end of the last lab and now and answer the questions below. Use this time to refine the general question that you probably came up with by the end of the last lab period. Your refined question will likely now be limited by what you learned earlier today. You must integrate those limitations into your question and consider if you can answer it within the confines of the system we are using.
- Based on the brainstorming activity from the previous lab and the data collection worksheet you have been given, jot down some of the site level variables that are measurable, interesting to you, and that you think could affect wildlife in Denver. One of these will be your
Urbanization (Human population within a 1km buffer around each site)
- Now, “wildlife” is too vague of a term to use as your dependent variable. In other words “wildlife” isn’t actually the specific thing you will measure.Write some specific ideas of how the variables in #1 would affect a specific aspect of “wildlife”. Think about what kinds of data we can get from the photos/ database (think about the database activity from Lab 1, and the assumptions of camera trap data we went over). Narrow down what you will actually measure. Think about things like – what species or groups of species you are interested in,whether you care about total number of photos taken, % of sampling days that a species was seen, or how many species were seen (species richness), etc. Be as specific as possible.
If there’s an increase in roads and infrastructure there will be a decrease in habitat leading to a decrease in population of both herbivores and carnivores.
- Try to write a specific question with a dependent variable and an independent variable thatcan be addressed with the data.
How will the presence of roads and infrastructure affect carnivores and herbivores wildlife populations in urban apartments?
- Based on the variables that were collected, discuss with your partner if your question is reasonably answerable. You and your partner can choose to work together on a single question throughout the project, but understand your finished products MUST be done individually. Each of these points below WILL BE EXPECTED in your term paper, so take the time now to write down your thoughts!
- State your dependent and independent variables, and explain how the variables were measured. Be as specific and detailed as possible= you will need this for your methods section of your term paper.
Independentvariable is the level of urbanizationspecifically the human population.
Dependent variable is the daily usage of the park of herbivores and carnivores seen on camera.
- Now for each of your variables, write down some assumptions or limitations that you will be making. This may impact how confident you are in the data that you will analyze and present results on. Think about the methods of how each of the variables are collected. Remember, all methods will have some sort of limitations or assumptions attached to them, and that’s OK! You just have to address them- and this will be expected in the discussion section of your term paper.
We cannot identify the same species of animals; we must assume that they are different individuals therefore we can get an accurate number, because we are not going to use the camera directly. However, we are going to assume the camera is being placed in a certain area of the park. Another limitation is fatty acid tablets. The fatty acid tablets are added to attract the carnivores and herbivores.
- Give some reasons why addressing your specific question is relevant or interesting to the field of urban ecology. This will be expected in the introduction section of your term paper.
Adressing this question will be relevant because the results will give us insight into the two types of animals affected by human population.
Part 2: Revise your question
- Think about the questions you were asked about your research question, could you refine your question to be more clear? Can you address your question with the data you can obtain? The question should NOT be answerable with a simple “yes” or “no”. The question should include time frames, locations, and specific dependent and independent variables explained in terms of how you would measure or estimate them.
- Revise and finalize your research question
How does the human population within 1km buffer around each site affect the percent daily usage of herbivores and carnivores in the 40 sites over the 40km transect?
These Examples Might Help You:
Initial question: Does a plague epizootic in prairie dogs change plant communities?
Revised Question: What is the peak summer biomass of grasses and forbs on a prairie dog colony 1, 2, and 3 years after a plague outbreak in Boulder County, Colorado?
Initial question: Has reintroduction of wolves decreased elk?
Revised Question: Over the last ten years since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park, how has the yearly population size of elk changed?
After you have completed this, your TA will show you how to start doing some background research on the variables that you are going to study. This will be important for your Introduction section of your term paper, as you will be expected to discuss previous research and the importance of the variables you chose.