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Dog Research Papers

In the last 15 years or so, research on dogs has exploded. There are thousands of published papers that look at everything from canine biology, neurology, cognitive ability to dog communication.

This is a list of websites that house those research papers. The websites contain other study topics than just dogs. To find what you are looking for, using the correct “search words” are critical. 

For example, to look for research about dog medication, health conditions etc, generally using the word “canine” will find more results than using the word “dog”. 

If you are looking for behavior-based or cognitive research, the word “dog” will result in more studies on the topic than “canine”.

Reading Studies

Learning to read the studies is a skill and you will have to learn new vocabulary to understand the details. Each area of study has its own terminology. 

Start with reading the abstract, which is a summary of the study, but do not rely on it to accurately interpret the study. You will need to dig deeper to look at the data and how it was obtained and then what methods were used to analyze and interpret it.

Every study has a bias and that may affect the results as well as the interpretation of the data. Remember that correlation is not causation-that means just because one thing looks like it has a relationship with another does not mean one causes the other. For example, just because a popsicle is red does not mean that the red color causes it to be cherry-flavored. The color is unrelated to the taste. Only when deeper research is done can we start to build a cause-effect relationship between the two. 

One study is just one question in the scientific process. 

Some of these directories contain free access to full studies, (either on the website or as a download), some have abstracts and data tables while others only have only abstracts. They will give you a place to start looking. For some of the studies, you can contact the researcher directly and request a full copy. For others, you will have to pay to see them.

What is the Scientific Process?

It is a methodical way to use observations and exerimentation to find answers. In short:

      1. Make an observation.
      2. Create a question called a hypothesis.
      3. Test your question by controlling the parts of the experiment.
      4. Analyze the results.
      5. Make an interpretation of the data.
      6. Revise your hypothesis and retest it.

Results Must be Repeatable

In order to be valid, the results must be repeatable by other people using the exact same process. If the results appear the same in many studies, that may be an indication that the findings are useful. That may trigger more research to be done, if there is funding available. 

Science is Not Static! 

Because scientific research is always adding to what we know or thought we knew, answers to questions may change over time. Since research on dogs is in its infancy, the answers may change as we understand more about specific aspects of dogs. 

Check out this summary video by “Science Buddies” Youtube Channel. 

The Scientific Method: Steps and Examples

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