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In this research article, Dean and Shiva-Jothy experimentally tested the relationship between the defensive action of human hair and the activities of ectoparasites. In the study the co-researchers have used experiential design to compare a parasite search times on the shaved and unshaved arm of the same host and the ability of the host to detect the presence of the parasite (Dean & Siva-Jothy, 2011).
The researchers examined the relationship between an individual’s level of hairiness, search time and the detection ability of the ectoparasites.
The paper fits well into the wider context of the study because it aims at investigating the possible cause and effect relationship by manipulating one dependent variable to influence the other variables in the group being experimented, and by controlling the other relevant variables and measuring the effects of manipulation through a statistical means.
The technique used by the co-researchers indicates the relationship between human fine body hair functions and the detection of ectoparasites. Thus, it is important to identify the link between the ectoparasites’ host choice and the nature and duration of search behavior by the ectoparasites.
The gap in this research appears in the evidence and the promising areas of future research. The researchers have attempted to raise questions that are worthwhile and relevant to the topic of the study.
However, the core of the validation process and key to the quality of the research is provided by the critical feedbacks in which the theory of the co-researchers is continually reviewed based on their actions and experience.
The experiential design used by the co-researchers requires that the individuals sampled are tested both on shaved and unshaved arms to prevent research biases.
The experiential method used by the co-researchers is appropriate because the study is based on individuals in which the subject of the research contribute to the content of the research including the phenomenon being researched and the creative thinking that the co-researchers generate and manage to draw conclusions.
The statistical analysis explains the comparison of search times of the ectoparasites on male and female hosts, it indicates the search times compared with treatment of the arms on male hosts but not in female hosts.
Moreover, the statistical analysis also indicates the detection of the ectoparasites on shaved and unshaved arms, the hosts detected the ectoparasites significantly more frequently on controlled arms compared with shaved arms in female and male hosts.
The co-researchers employed research methods that were very beneficial in addressing the phenomena under investigation.
Descriptive research is the other important method that can be beneficial in this study since it allows the researchers to verify the hypothesis to present a situation and analyze it (Moher, Dulbers & Wells, 1994).
This research describes the conditions in detail of the present situation. The descriptive method can be used by the researchers to record data in form of a written report according to their perception (Quinn & Keough, 2002).
The results obtained by the co-researchers confirmed the hypothesis, hence providing an opportunity for further research on the topic.
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Therefore, the research provides a clear ground to make claims that the ectoparasites activity depends on the presence of the human fine hair on the body; hence the findings confirmed the research hypothesis.
Moreover, it was found out that the ectoparasites had significantly longer search times on unshaved arms on male hosts but not on female hosts. The co-researchers presented the data in a clear way that is easy to understand and interpret. However, the co-researchers failed to provide an explanation on the differences that existed between the male and female hosts.
The data presented by the statistical analysis indicate that the presence of the fine body hair prolongs the search behavior of the ectoparasites and enhances the detection of the searching ectoparasites. It clearly indicates that a higher hair index increases the chances of the hosts to detect the ectoparasites.
The research indicates that due to the differences in hair index in males and females, there are implications on gender differences in the detection of the ectoparasites.
Therefore, there is need to conduct further studies in order to come up with a better reason that causes the differences between male and female hosts. Due to the differences in the number of males and females who took part in this research, the conclusions may be over generalized because it does not fairly represent the actual population.
The other methods should be more simple and easy to interpret. For instance, the line graphs indicate data in different points over time (Ryan & Bernard, 2000). In a line graph the x- axis indicates the time interval and the y-axis indicates the values of the dependent variable (Tashakkori & Teddlie 1998).
A pie chart can also be used because it is easy to interpret the results and the contribution of each item to the whole, and the figures provided as a percentage of the whole (Montgomery, 1997).
In conclusion, the co-researchers have made very important caveats in this study for instance, the research findings are introduced because there is evidence that the research was performed with methodological rigor and the findings are bias free.
In addition, the co-researchers have used statistical analysis that has made it easy to interpret raw data into meaningful data. The findings of the data confirm the hypothesis of the research through the determination of the relationship between an individual’s level of hairiness, search time and the detection ability of the ectoparasites.
The study fits in line with earlier studies conducted on primates. The study has made advancements from the previous studies because of the inclusion of human beings in the trial experiments as opposed to the earlier studies that used laboratory organisms and primates.
Finally, It is important to do further studies on the feeding preferences of the ectoparasites on the hairless parts of the human body. As indicated earlier, the strengths of this research is based on the possible cause and effect relationship by manipulating one dependent variable to influence the other variables in the group being experimented.
Dean, I., & Siva-Jothy, M., T. (2011). Human fine body hair enhances ectoparasites detection. Biology Letters, Animal Behavior, doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0987.
Moher, D., Dulbers C. S., & Wells, G., A. (1994). Statistical power, sample size, and their reporting in randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 272:122-124.
Montgomery, D., C. (1997). Design and analysis of experiments, 4th edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Quinn, G. & Keough, M. (2002). Experimental design and data analysis for biologists.
UK: Cambridge University Press.
Ryan, G., W., & Bernard, H., R. (2000). Data management and analysis methods. In Norman K. Denzin & Yvonna S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp.769-802). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Tashakkori, A., & Teddlie, C. (1998). Mixed methodology: combining qualitative and quantitative approaches, (Vol. 46). Thousand Oaks: Sage.