Designing an Experiment

By GrowingDeer,

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I’m going to college to become a wildlife biologist, do you have any advice? I am also going to run a study on how barometric pressure affects deer, any thoughts?



I’ve addressed several questions about becoming a wildlife biologist.  You might check out my answer to Getting Involved and use the search feature to find more answers.  I strongly believe that most folks can be successful at any occupation that they are passionate about.  That doesn’t mean entering or advancing in that occupation will be easy or profitable.  You should know that passion about hunting is not the same as passion about being a wildlife biologist.  The two certainly complement each other.  However, many wildlife biologists (including myself) spend more time helping other hunters and landowners than we do hunting.  My strongest suggestion for you would be to spend a summer as an intern with a wildlife biologist that works in a specific area of your choosing.  Spending a summer, even on a volunteer basis, is much less expensive in terms of dollars and time, then finding out that being a wildlife biologist was a bad choice.  I believe that internships or similar programs are extremely beneficial to folks deciding which career path to take.  I volunteered a summer through the Student Conservation Organization when I was a junior in college.  I worked for the Bureau of Land Management at the Elko, Nevada District.  I was only paid $25 per week and provided a small trailer for living quarters.  It was a fabulous experience.  My best counsel for you is to do an internship and see what being a wildlife biologist is really like before making a decision for your degree program.

Designing studies that provide meaningful results takes a bit of time.  Please take time to consider the question (hypothesis) you wish to address and be honest about all the variables that may impact the results.  Probably the biggest flaw in most studies is not accounting for all the sources of variability.  Results without understanding the variables often lead to erroneous conclusions.

Growing Deer together,