Plumage in these areas is either reddish or bluish, and the quality of such colors is known to be correlated with individual quality Hill , ; Keyser Variation in the color and intensity of plumage will be determined using a reflectance spectrometer Ocean Optics S fiber optic spectrometer, Dunedin, FL and these values will be used as a measure of individual quality.
To confirm that plumage color and intensity is dependent on condition, we will use tail feather growth rates as a measure of nutritional condition during molt. At the time of capture, the outermost tail feathers will be removed and the mean width of daily growth bars, which is correlated with nutritional condition Hill and Montgomerie , will be determined. Observations will be made at various times during the day, with observation periods typically 1 - 3 hours in duration.
During focal bird observations, individuals will be monitored using binoculars and spotting scopes. Information will be recorded on a portable tape recorder for later transcription.
During each observation, I will record all attacks and whether attacks were initiated from a perch or while hovering. For perches, I will note the time a kestrel lands on a perch and the time until the kestrel either initates an attack or leaves for another perch i. If an attack is made, I will note attack distances the distance from a perch to the point where a prey item was attacked and outcome successful or not. If successful, an attempt will be made to identify the prey to the lowest taxonomic category possible.
The activity budgets of kestrels will also be determined by observing the frequency and duration of kestrel behaviors during randomly-selected min observation periods i. During these min periods, the frequency of occurrence of each of the following behaviors will be recorded: capturing prey, preening, engaging in nonpreening comfort movements including scratching, stretching wing or tail, shaking body plumage, cleaning foot with bill, and yawning , vocalizing, and flying.
The context in which flight occurs, including pounces on prey, and the duration of flights and of preening bouts will also be recorded. Possible relationships among hunting behavior mode of attack, perch time, attack distance and outcome [successful or unsuccessful], and type of prey attacked , territory vegetation, time budgets, sex, and individual quality will be examined.
Literature Cited Balgooyen, T. Bohall-Wood, P. Abundance and habitat selection of two American Kestrel subspecies in north-central Florida. Auk Craighead, J. Craighead, Jr. Hawks, owls, and wildlife. Stackpole Co. If you are using statistics, why is this set of data being used? If other data sources exist, explain why the data you chose is most appropriate to addressing the research problem.
Describe potential limitations. Are there any practical limitations that could affect your data collection? How will you attempt to control for potential confounding variables and errors?
If your methodology may lead to problems you can anticipate, state this openly and show why pursuing this methodology outweighs the risk of these problems cropping up. The description of how you prepared to study the research problem, how you gathered the data, and the protocol for analyzing the data should be organized chronologically.
For clarity, when a large amount of detail must be presented, information should be presented in sub-sections according to topic. ANOTHER NOTE: If you are conducting a qualitative analysis of a research problem, the methodology section generally requires a more elaborate description of the methods used as well as an explanation of the processes applied to gathering and analyzing of data than is generally required for studies using quantitative methods.
Because you are the primary instrument for generating the data, the process for collecting that data has a significantly greater impact on producing the findings. Therefore, qualitative research requires a more detailed description of the methods used.
If this is the case, you must include a statement in your methods section that you received official endorsement and adequate informed consent from the IRB and that there was a clear assessment and minimization of risks to participants and to the university.
This statement informs the reader that your study was conducted in an ethical and responsible manner. In some cases, the IRB approval notice is included as an appendix to your paper. Problems to Avoid Irrelevant Detail The methodology section of your paper should be thorough but to the point. Do not provide any background information that does not directly help the reader understand why a particular method was chosen, how the data was gathered or obtained, and how the data was analyzed in relation to the research problem [note: analyzed, not interpreted!
Save how you interpreted the findings for the discussion section]. With this in mind, the page length of your methods section will generally be less than any other section of your paper except the conclusion. Unnecessary Explanation of Basic Procedures Remember that you are not writing a how-to guide about a particular method. You should make the assumption that readers possess a basic understanding of how to investigate the research problem on their own and, therefore, you do not have to go into great detail about specific methodological procedures.
The focus should be on how you applied a method, not on the mechanics of doing a method. An exception to this rule is if you select an unconventional methodological approach; if this is the case, be sure to explain why this approach was chosen and how it enhances the overall process of discovery. Problem Blindness It is almost a given that you will encounter problems when collecting or generating your data, or, gaps will exist in existing data or archival materials.
Do not ignore these problems or pretend they did not occur. Often, documenting how you overcame obstacles can form an interesting part of the methodology. It demonstrates to the reader that you can provide a cogent rationale for the decisions you made to minimize the impact of any problems that arose. Literature Review Just as the literature review section of your paper provides an overview of sources you have examined while researching a particular topic, the methodology section should cite any sources that informed your choice and application of a particular method [i.
A description of a research study's method should not be confused with a description of the sources of information. Such a list of sources is useful in and of itself, especially if it is accompanied by an explanation about the selection and use of the sources. The description of the project's methodology complements a list of sources in that it sets forth the organization and interpretation of information emanating from those sources.
Azevedo, L. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers , pp. Structuring Your Research Thesis. Methods Section. Writing Center. Thousand Oaks, Sage Publications, , pp. Purdue University; Methods and Materials. The general objective of the research is what is to be accomplished by the research project, for example, to determine whether or not a new vaccine should be incorporated in a public health program. The specific objectives relate to the specific research questions the investigator wants to answer through the proposed study and may be presented as primary and secondary objectives, for example, primary: To determine the degree of protection that is attributable to the new vaccine in a study population by comparing the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups.
Young investigators are advised to resist the temptation to put too many objectives or over-ambitious objectives that cannot be adequately achieved by the implementation of the protocol. Variables: During the planning stage, it is necessary to identify the key variables of the study and their method of measurement and unit of measurement must be clearly indicated.
Four types of variables are important in research 5 : a. Independent variables: variables that are manipulated or treated in a study in order to see what effect differences in them will have on those variables proposed as being dependent on them.
Dependent variables: variables in which changes are results of the level or amount of the independent variable or variables. Synonyms: effect, outcome, consequence, result, condition, disease. For instance, in a study of the effect of measles independent variable on child mortality dependent variable , the nutritional status of the child may play an intervening confounding role. Background variables: variables that are so often of relevance in investigations of groups or populations that they should be considered for possible inclusion in the study.
For example sex, age, ethnic origin, education, marital status, social status etc. The objective of research is usually to determine the effect of changes in one or more independent variables on one or more dependent variables.
For example, a study may ask "Will alcohol intake independent variable have an effect on development of gastric ulcer dependent variable? The characteristics that define these variables must be clearly identified for the purpose of the study. A hypothesis can be defined as a tentative prediction or explanation of the relationship between two or more variables.
In other words, the hypothesis translates the problem statement into a precise, unambiguous prediction of expected outcomes. Hypotheses are not meant to be haphazard guesses, but should reflect the depth of knowledge, imagination and experience of the investigator. For example: "Health education involving active participation by mothers will produce more positive changes in child feeding than health education based on lectures".
Here the independent variable is types of health education and the dependent variable is changes in child feeding.
A research question poses a relationship between two or more variables but phrases the relationship as a question; a hypothesis represents a declarative statement of the relations between two or more variables.
Is there a relationship between them? Deciding whether to use questions or hypotheses depends on factors such as the purpose of the study, the nature of the design and methodology, and the audience of the research at times even the outlook and preference of the committee members, particularly the Chair. Methodology: The method section is very important because it tells your research Committee how you plan to tackle your research problem.
The guiding principle for writing the Methods section is that it should contain sufficient information for the reader to determine whether the methodology is sound. Some even argue that a good proposal should contain sufficient details for another qualified researcher to implement the study. This section should include: Research design: The selection of the research strategy is the core of research design and is probably the single most important decision the investigator has to make.
The choice of the strategy, whether descriptive, analytical, experimental, operational or a combination of these depend on a number of considerations, 5 but this choice must be explained in relation to the study objectives. The key reason for being concerned with sampling is the issue of validity-both internal and external of the study results.
Controls or comparison groups are used in scientific research in order to increase the validity of the conclusions.
Control groups are necessary in all analytical epidemiological studies, in experimental studies of drug trials, in research on effects of intervention programmes and disease control measures and in many other investigations. Some descriptive studies studies of existing data, surveys may not require control groups.
Sample size: The proposal should provide information and justification basis on which the sample size is calculated about sample size in the methodology section. A smaller sample size than needed can also be unethical as it exposes human subjects to risk with no benefit to scientific knowledge. Calculation of sample size has been made easy by computer software programmes, but the principles underlying the estimation should be well understood.
Interventions: If an intervention is introduced, a description must be given of the drugs or devices proprietary names, manufacturer, chemical composition, dose, frequency of administration if they are already commercially available. Before the proposal is submitted to the Ethics Committee for approval, two important documents mentioned below where appropriate must be appended to the proposal.
In additions, there is another vital issue of Conflict of Interest, wherein the researchers should furnish a statement regarding the same. The Informed consent form informed decision-making : A consent form, where appropriate, must be developed and attached to the proposal. The use of medical terminology should be avoided as far as possible. Special care is needed when subjects are illiterate.
It should explain why the study is being done and why the subject has been asked to participate. It should describe, in sequence, what will happen in the course of the study, giving enough detail for the subject to gain a clear idea of what to expect.
Hill, G. Is your study qualitative or quantitative or a combination of both mixed method? Shavelson RJ. Provide definitions of key concepts. It should clarify whether or not the study procedures offer any benefits to the subject or to others, and explain the nature, likelihood and treatment of anticipated discomfort or adverse effects, including psychological and social risks, if any. Searches will be conducted on foot as well by automobile.