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Animal Behaviour/Training Dissertation Advice

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by greenhamrolls, 13 Aug 2014.

  1. greenhamrolls

    greenhamrolls New Member

    25 Feb 2014
    Hi everyone,

    I hope this is the correct place to write this, apologies if it isn't.

    I've just started looking at research for my literature review dissertation in my final year of Animal Biology at Nottingham Trent University. I'm currently basing this research around captive animals (mainly zoo housed species), their behaviour and trying to incorporate positive reinforcement training (PRT) into it.

    My first thoughts were to investigate PRT and link it to how this is improving the welfare of captive animals using research that is already available - but I'm not sure whether this is too basic a topic? I've discovered there is quite a lot about how PRT can be used for husbandry and health benefits, and I have most recently been looking at how stereotypic/abnormal behaviours have been reduced when using PRT as a form of enrichment so I wondered about investigating the main welfare issues based around these headings and hopefully find some data from research currently out there to analyse to show how PRT is being used to improve these welfare issues.

    I could also look at another viewpoint in regard to PRT being used to train unnatural behaviours perhaps, or problems with using PRT if used incorrectly?

    I am hoping to incorporate information from work experiences I will be doing over the next year (I am currently at Colchester Zoo working with the Displays team) and conferences as I am very passionate about the behaviour, welfare and training aspects of working with animals and I am hoping to pursue this as a career so I want to ensure that this comes across in my dissertation.

    I am not asking for somebody to think of my topic for me, I just wanted to see whether any of these ideas seem original enough for a strong dissertation topic, as it is something I am really passionate about, or whether they too simple and have been done too many times so I will need to rethink.

    Thank you in advance :)
  2. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

    23 Jan 2008
    New York, USA
    Preparing a dissertation ought, IMO, to be an opportunity for you to learn about something new rather than to catalogue studies substantiating what you already know and believe. But often topic selection must depend on what resources and time are available to you. I suggest you review the literature and see what gaps come to mind or what as yet unexplored connections come to mind and then consider doing that work. It will be a better experience for you, will add to our understanding of the subject, and will be more impressive to future employers.