– Cutting-Edge Research at Trifling Cost. Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore. Access full text of this book at:
In this book, I introduce readers to the study of animal behaviour by describing simple experiments, both old and new, designed to understand how and why animals behave the way they do. My emphasis is on the design of the experiments and my goal is to motivate readers not only to think about the design but also to come up with alternatives and improvements. I believe that motivated readers can replicate some of these experiments even if they end up replacing the study animal or the behaviours of interest with their own favourite choices. One of my goals is to show how simple and innovative experiments can be performed at almost no cost, by nearly anyone, to create significant new knowledge. The history of science shows that this is true in most areas of scientific research, albeit to varying degrees. I have focussed on the field of animal behaviour both because I am more familiar with this field than others, but also because, the field of animal behaviour is especially well-suited for such low-cost research. My hope is also to bring social prestige to low-cost research, make the practice of science more inclusive and democratic, and empower large numbers of people to become knowledge producers rather than merely remain knowledge consumers, in the field of animal behaviour and beyond.