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Ask the Expert: Choosing a student research project

Q:

I am after some advice. I must complete an extended essay/research project by the end of next year. I have chosen biology and would like to do something equine related. I am required to choose an issue and write 5000 words on it. I’m required to conduct my own experiment.  I currently only have access to one horse but towards the end of the year I will have access to 15 of various types (age, breed, etc). I will be able to purchase materials online and have access to labs. I was wondering if anyone has any ideas of what I could choose to research.
Thanks in advance.
Anissa.

 


A:

Dear Anissa,

Congratulations on taking your education to the next level!

The topic of your research should be one that interests you the most. I’m assuming you are passionate about horses, so finding a topic should be easy if you follow your curiosity. Your curiosity will lead to a question that your research should then answer. Obviously, keep it within range of your abilities and your equine subjects.  Really, 5000 words is not that many when writing about an in-depth subject.

Think about what parts of the biology of horses most interest you.  What systems of the body? Brain, muscle, digestion, endocrine, bones, etc.  Then break this down even more. Interested in Cushing’s? What is the prevalence in horses? What breeds are most likely to have it? How about PSSM? Insulin resistance is another topic on a lot of horse owner’s minds. Or, you could study genetics…what makes a buckskin or a palomino, or gradations within these colors? Or, how does behavior relate to genetics or feed?

Read through horse magazines and look at recently published articles and books might help you come up with a topic.

In the end, the topic of your research must come from your own curiosity in order to keep your energy up and help you complete the tasks.

 

Best of luck!

Kim Roe

 

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