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PSYC 372: Animal Behavior

Research Guide for PSYC 372

Preparing Your Zoo Observation Report

For your Zoo Observation Report, you will use your articles to build arguments and conclusions about your zoo observations.


1. Title of paper (on a separate page), your name, course, date

2. Introduction Bring together theories and evidence from your articles to provide background for your hypothesis and create a compelling narrative about how the articles you've read have built up to your hypothesis. Build an argument of evidence (from published papers) leading to your stated hypothesis and predictions.

3. STATE Conservation Status of your species: use CITES or IUCN to report on the conservation status of your species:

4. Methods: Subsections should include:

  • Design: chosen observational method, time sampling method, and design, how long observed, in what way data were collected, how they were analyzed, etc. State hypothesis.
  • Species: how many individuals, age range (if known, if unknown state this), numbers of males and females
  • Location: state where you observed the animals from, for how long, under what conditions (e.g., number of zoo visitors and the weather conditions, etc), and any other special circumstances you encountered; and how you recorded your observations), point at which you observed the animals
  • Provide operational definitions in an Appendix but refer to them and describe

5. Results: provide descriptions and summaries (in tables/graphs) of the categories of behaviors you observed; note that graphs are referred to as “Figures”.

  • Do not interpret your results, just present them in words supported by tables and graphs.
  • Do not present raw data. Tally the columns of data for frequencies. These can be used for statistical analyses of trends in the data and graphical representations of the data.

6. Discussion: interpret your results objectively in light of evidence from published papers you have read

  • What behaviors and sequences of behaviors did your animals show?
  • Explanation of results: whether or not the results were expected, explanations for the results, and patterns and trends that emerged from your results and their meanings
  • References to previous research: compare your results with findings from other studies and use evidence from research sources to build arguments about what your study findings mean 
  • Draw conclusions that either support or do not support your hypothesis

7. References: a list of the sources you cited

  • Cite your sources in APA Style
  • Format your references in APA Style
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