Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2017

Degree Type

Honors Thesis


Zoology and Physiology

First Advisor

Dr. Donal Skinner


Research provides the basis for scientific discovery and advancements in all areas of science. The process of discovery involves countless repetitions of the identical experiment in order to make a claim about the topic in question. In order to properly conduct an experiment that is similar or the same to one already executed, all of the variables must be perfectly controlled. In experiments discussed in this presentation, living conditions involving rats are the variables to control. Some of the variables include lighting, exercise, water intake, and diet.

A current problem facing research is the way diets are being reported in research papers. Matched diets are diets that are the exact same with exception to the nutrient being tested, and should be used within all research labs conducting experiments, however, diets which are very different in many nutrients beyond the variable are being compared. This matching of diets should also be used across separate research labs doing the same or similar experiments. The problem here is the nutrients in these diets are not being reported correctly in many papers, therefore the experiments cannot and should not be compared to one another in order to make a scientific claim. Conclusions are being drawn that may have nothing to do with the research question. The effects of changing many of the main ingredients of these diets will be discussed in depth, in order to show that this is a real issue, and needs to be addressed by the scientific community.