Methods and Protocols
In the current climate of off-the-shelf assays, we cannot emphasize enough that ethology involves the same level of skilled decision making as any other science. Just as a research neuropharmacologist receives years of training in the selection of the correct assay to efficiently address the research question at hand, such is the essence of an ethologist's training. The selection of the correct observation methods will allow for an efficient and timely data collection schedule, and will yield data that directly pertains to the research question. Poorly designed behavioral observations often lead to a great deal of wasted effort and inconclusive or misleading data.
The following pages provide some basic information on setting up apparatus for video recording of mouse behavior in the homecage; and some simple observation methods for common research questions. These are intended to highlight common problems and solutions in gathering this kind of data, rather than as the be-all-and-end-all of homecage observation of mouse behavior.