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Charlie's Animal Research Project -- status update

Charlie Wilkes charlie_wilkes at easynews.com
Thu Aug 14 04:42:26 EST 2003

On Thu, 14 Aug 2003 00:26:17 +1000, Richard Vickery
<Richard.Vickery at unsw.edu.au> wrote:

>Charlie Wilkes wrote:
>> My experiment design is as follows:
>> 1.  I will observe cats under the natural stress conditions of the
>> shelter and identify specific behaviors indicating stress.  Repetitive
>> mewing and clawing at the cage are the two that come to mind, but I
>> haven't started observing yet.
>> 2.  I will put the DDR in the cage with some cats who appear uneasy in
>> captivity and leave it off, and tape a 4-8 hour segment.  I won't be
>> there physically, which is why I bought the nannycam.
>> 3.  I will turn the DDR on, and operate it according to instructions,
>> and will attempt to videotape as much of the first 24-48 hours as
>> possible.
>> 4.  I will analyze my tape data and attempt to quantify changes in
>> behavior by counting incidents of behavior that I have determined to
>> be my stress indicators.
>> I'm planning to use subjects who will be in the same area for a few
>> days and will not interact with them.
>> This is ultra-simple, because I don't know anything about doing
>> research.  So, I'd appreciate comments from all you neuro-wizards out
>> there in scienceland.
>Charlie, a few changes would improve the study significantly.
>1.  You need some controls - cats in which you put the unit in the 
>cage, but never switch it on, but still record the 24-48 hours as 
>2.  The study needs to be done blind.  Have the woman at the shelter 
>select which cages will be control and which ones test (flip a coin 
>or use some other random method to choose from your pool of 
>pre-identified subjects).  She should write this down but not reveal 
>it to you until the study is complete.  You now score the tape data 
>without knowing the state of each animal as test or control.  At the 
>end you put your data together with the information about what group 
>each cat was in.
>Hope this helps.
>best wishes
>Richard Vickery

Yes.  This helps immensely.  This is exactly the kind of direct,
succinct guidance that is easiest for me to follow.  Tomorrow I return
to the shelter, but I think I will confine my activities to some basic
obsevation and practical installation issues as well as getting to
know the people.  There are quite a few of them -- a bunch of
cat-ladies with personalities I don't want to get to know, but must
for the sake of my experiment.

Thanks so much for your help!


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