This course will focus on the design and implementation of original field research conducted in the Neotropics. Students will be expected to critically think and analyze data. After learning the fundamentals of project design, students will carry out self-designed research. We will begin with supervised group projects, learn how to analyze data, formally write up papers, and effectively present findings. During the course, we will address:
- What makes a good research question, and how to formulate hypotheses.
- How to create new knowledge by properly designing research, applying appropriate statistical methods, and accurately interpreting findings.
- How to apply principles of sampling and project design.
- What tools are best suited to quantify ecological systems, and how to properly use a variety of field equipment.
- How to test hypotheses using parametric and non-parametric statistics, and how to determine appropriate tests to use when analyzing data.
- How to effectively search literature as a resource for manuscript writing, and how to evaluate the scientific quality of published literature.
- How to critically access scientific evidence, and how to best present evidence and findings.
The course will end with a public symposium, where all projects will be formally presented.