Consequences of inconsistently classifying woodland birds

Fraser, H, Garrard, G, Rumpff, L, Hauser, C and McCarthy, M 2015, 'Consequences of inconsistently classifying woodland birds', Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 3, 83, pp. 1-8.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

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Title Consequences of inconsistently classifying woodland birds
Author(s) Fraser, H
Garrard, G
Rumpff, L
Hauser, C
McCarthy, M
Year 2015
Journal name Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Volume number 3
Article Number 83
Start page 1
End page 8
Total pages 8
Publisher Frontiers Research Foundation
Abstract There is a longstanding debate regarding the need for ecology to develop consistent terminology. On one hand, consistent terminology would aid in synthesizing results between studies and ease communication of results. On the other hand, there is no proof that standardizing terminology is necessary and it could limit the scope of research in certain fields. This article is the first to provide evidence that terminology can influence results of ecological studies. We find that researchers are classifying "woodland birds" inconsistently because of their research aims and linguistic uncertainty. Importantly, we show that these inconsistencies introduce a systematic bias to results. We argue that using inconsistent terms can bias the results of studies, thereby harming the field of ecology, because scientific progress relies on the ability to synthesize information from multiple studies.
Subject Conservation and Biodiversity
Environmental Monitoring
Keyword(s) Nomenclature
Terminology
Classification
Consistent
Standardization
Ecological synthesis
Woodland bird
Woodland-dependent bird
DOI - identifier 10.3389/fevo.2015.00083
Copyright notice Copyright © 2015 Fraser, Garrard, Rumpff, Hauser and McCarthy. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).
ISSN 2296-701X
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