Oxford dictionary broadly defines science as a system for organizing knowledge about a particular subject. Amateur refers to something done for pleasure and a pet is an animal that you keep in your home for pleasure.
In the context of MisterMiceGuy Amateur Pet Science is asking questions, collecting data, and sharing records to gain a deeper understanding of the animals we keep in our homes. Not only can this be done as part of the fun of owning and raising animals but also as a way to better understand the nature of science and to find answers to questions that curious pet owners generate.
The purpose of MisterMiceGuy’s Amateur Pet Science is multifaceted. Firstly there is the goal of providing science education. This is not pet facts based on science but instead education about the scientific process. The second goal is to create a community of science and pet lovers where individuals can ask questions, communicate, and share interesting findings that goes beyond a discussion of pet care facts or suggestions. A third goal is that pet owners can actually increase our knowledge of the animals we work with and amateur science can be used to improve the care we give our animals.
Types of Scientific Experiments
There are two broad types of scientific experiments, Observational Studies, and True Scientific Experiments. Observational Studies simply observe, record, and analyze the relationship between different phenomena in nature. True Scientific Experiments involve a scientist deliberately manipulating a variable (an independent variable) in order to detect a change in another variable (a dependent variable). This allows a scientist to understand that one variable is causing another variable. With an observational study, a scientist only is able to understand the relationship between two variables but is not able to determine the cause of the relationship.
Scientists consider the ethics of working with animals and there are a variety of perspectives regarding the ethics of working with animals. MisterMiceGuy encourages non-invasive and non-harmful methods of study for the purpose of improving the methods of animal care and welfare in the home.
Professional Scientists that work in research institutions will submit their research ideas to an ethics board for an evaluation of ethics. These boards may include a variety of individuals with different kinds of academic and non-academic backgrounds who will evaluate and approve research involving humans or animals.
However, as an amateur pet scientist, you alone are responsible for the care and welfare of your pets. It’s your responsibility to house and care for your animals according to the best of your knowledge and skill. It’s your responsibility to avoid causing pain or distress to your animals and to alleviate any pain or distress to the best of your ability. This may include seeking professional veterinary assistance when appropriate. You may wish to consult authorities’ animal care textbooks & websites or speak with individuals experienced in keeping the species you are interested in.