Choose a topic where an aspect of nonhuman primate behavior (ideally, social behavior) is examined with regard to ecological variables, e.g., food, predation, parasites, etc
Acceptable articles must appear after 1974, and must be relevant to the specific topic you are researching (a citation on chimpanzee warfare is almost certainly irrelevant to the topic of capuchin allomothering). You do not need to understand each statistical test included in the articles, and you can often find the study’s results clearly summarized in text form in the article’s discussion section. The paper must be double-spaced, 12-point font, 5-6 pages, with a minimum of 5 references from the list of journals listed at the end of this syllabus (title page and reference sections do not count as 2 of the 5-6 pages.) Direct quotes may not exceed 5 lines of text total for the entire paper. In addition to quotes, all paraphrasing must be appropriately cited. If you paraphrase what an author says, you need to indicate the author name and year in the same sentence or paragraph in which you discuss their ideas or findings. Do not claim that the researchers’ ideas are your own if they are not. Do not paraphrase the researchers’ ideas and claim that they are your own. A simple citation solves these problems (Hess, 2021). You should be minimally including one citation for each paragraph that includes a finding or an idea put out in an article.
Content, logic, and thoughtful evaluation of your articles and chapters will be emphasized in grading. However, low quality writing can still negatively impact your grade. It is assumed you are coming to this assignment as a skilled writer, as this is a 300-level course. Your integration of the findings, as well as any critiques of them, must be logical, coherent, and relevant to the material presented in this class. A paper that is little more than a list of the findings of each article will not earn a good grade. Avoid redundancy due to poor editing, or worse—for the sake of filling up pages. Fill pages with SUBSTANTIVE content and thoughtful evaluations, not with unfounded opinions. See the end of this syllabus for writing tips, reference style, and suggested journals for finding articles. Having a classmate read your paper is an excellent way to catch mistakes and to see if your content is coherent.
Topic suggestions: Choose a topic where an aspect of nonhuman primate behavior (ideally, social behavior) is examined with regard to ecological variables, e.g., food, predation, parasites, etc. The same behavior can be explored with regard to multiple ecological variables that separate researchers have hypothesized and explored through data collection and analysis. Topics must be theory driven (e.g., “is allomaternal behavior in baboons a form of learning-to-mother?”) and not simply descriiptive (e.g., “what are the morphological/behavioral traits of squirrel monkeys?”). In other words, you are to ask a question that is informed by the material covered in course content, and then look to the scientific the literature to find evidence relevant to its answer (or answers). Note that evidence may support or fail to support the answer(s).
examples of successful papers in the past are on topics that include medicinal plant use, cooperation, deception, tool use, infanticide, allomaternal behavior, coalition aggression, culture in monkeys, mothering, monogamy, ritualized aggression (e.g., gorilla chest-pounding.), female dominance, etc.. A topic linking food or predation to primate behavior would be good (for example, does high predation cause individuals to make alarm calls to help warn each other, and does kinship play a role?) Studies using experimental methods are also very interesting, such as the playing back the recorded calls of monkeys on a speaker in the forest.
Journals Relevant to Primate Behavioral Ecology for Research Paper
Note that these are professional, academic journal articles or chapters in academic edited volumes—not articles in magazines or books intended for a popular audience. Wikipedia and website addresses are not acceptable forms of citations. There should be no web addresses in your paper. If you cannot access articles from your home computer, come to campus to access them at the library.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
International Journal of Primatology
American Journal of Primatology
(Behavioral and Brain Sciences)
Include references using the following format:
Smith, R. C. (1986) Pseudo-reciprocity: investing in mutualism. Animal Behaviour 34, pp. 1562–1566.
Do not do this:
For my paper I thought about what to write on, and decided to study allomothering in capuchin monkeys. In 2008, in an article in a journal on primates, a journal that Professor Perry, PhD, recommended we use to find good articles on the syllabus for this class, and a journal that I liked very much (even though it was hard for me to find in the library), John Smith wrote an article called “Allomothering in Cebus capuchinis” (Smith, 2008). It is important to state that the page numbers for this articles were page 34 all the way through to page 56. It was interesting that the volume was number 1 and the number of this academic journal article was number 2. In this article, Dr. Perry reviewed evidence that young female capuchin monkeys—and even the baby female capuchin monkeys who will eventually, someday, if the fates allow, grow up to become adult female capuchin monkeys themselves—like to allomother. She also said in his article that maybe they like to allomother because they have hormones. Please see reference section for a complete citation of this reference. That reference is in the last page of this paper, in the reference section, which is very important in writing a paper like this. Overall, the paper said capuchins like to allomother because of hormones. Also, the paper was well-written and but a bit difficult for me to follow. I kind of liked the paper, and would recommend it to a friend.
The paragraph above is replete with redundancy, unsophisticated opinions, and useless information. Line 1: do not tell the reader what you are going to do for this paper—you are doing it by writing it down and turning it in—or how you picked your topic. A better introductory sentence should have relevant content, e.g., “Allomothering, though rare among most mammals, is common among the primates.” Also line 1: the first clause ends in a preposition—poor form. In line 2: you don’t need to tell the reader that it is an article in a journal; using only journal articles is a requirement of the assignment, and you have the articles listed in the reference section. Line 8 is unnecessary. Is it relevant to the thesis of the paper that infant monkeys grow up to be adult monkeys? No. Was any mental effort expended to realize that monkeys age? Do you think the reader does not already know that monkey age? Also, the sentence is too flowery for a scientific-style paper. I want concisely-expressed logic that synthesizes findings and ideas put forth by primate behavioral ecologists—not irrelevant, poetic, redundant, content-free page-filling. You have a small number of pages to convey the recent data on a major theory in primatology; do not waste those pages, and do not go over the page limit. Good scientific writing is clear and to-the-point.
The paper must be double-spaced, 12-point font, 5-6 pages, with a minimum of 5 references from the list of journals below
The title page and the reference page do not count as 2 of the 5 pages