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Innovating a research

Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.

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Innovating a research

Postby sammmy » Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:01 am

Dear members,
This topic is a discussion about the steps to be taken in order to start a biological research!
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Postby Jesse2504 » Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:00 pm

Develop a theory.
Test the theory.
Verify the theory.
Jesse

I spit in the mouth of a god, who whispers in the minds of the children

"The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is at all comprehensible" - Albert Einstein.
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Re: Innovating a research

Postby biomom » Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:54 pm

Hi! I'm new. I just applied to an online bio masters program and will likely start in the spring. Looking at sample syllabi from last year, the intro class I'll be taking requires me to design a research project, complete with bibliography, budget, etc. I don't think we'll actually be doing the study itself, only the design. However, I'm a full-time mom and the program is several hundred miles away, so my resources are limited.

I'm already starting to look for a viable hypothesis. One idea I had was growing several plots of strawberries in my backyard, the variables being either the varieties grown, the growing medium, fertilizer, etc. I could test for pest or drought resistance, berry size or production, etc. I wonder though, would research I can conduct in my own backyard be statistically relevant, or would I need a larger-scale project, like a whole berry farm? Does the idea sound too immature for a grad student's research? I've been out of academia for quite a while and am looking for any ideas! Thanks in advance!

*Edit--I'd like to add, we are also expected to carry out an actual research project during our program to fulfill 6 credit hours, so if I could design the project now and carry it out later, all the better!
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Re: Innovating a research

Postby biomom » Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:50 pm

Anyone have any ideas to add to this?
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Postby HilaryD » Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:52 am

To Biomom

Hi Biomom,

Where did you find the online bio masters degree program? That's nice.
I just graduated with a Biology degree. But I did a fairly simple ecological research project for both a class and Honors thesis. I found this book extremely useful: Practical Methods in Ecology by P.A. Henderson. It gave me ideas and methods that were cheap. Ecology studies, according to this book, sometimes have small samples sizes anywhere from 10-20, mostly because it can get a little tricky trying to grab enough samples. My project required me to get samples from the rocky intertidal and I had a time span of around 3-5 hours to collect them all.

Your berries project sounds good, and it also sounds like there will be a lot of literature you can site and learn from. Ask your major advisor for his opinion on whether you can develop your research project into a bigger one if you have to. I wasn't in graduate school but I took the class with other graduate students and the most useful advice I got was from the Teacher's Assistant.
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