Three broiler nutrition research studies were designed and implemented over three semesters to evaluate the influence of student-directed research on enhancing critical thinking and problem-solving abilities in undergraduate students in an animal nutrition and feeding course. Student research teams were randomly assigned to dietary treatments and responsible for animal husbandry, data collection, and statistical analysis. The objective of the project was to determine if early feed restriction of broiler chickens influenced live performance, growth compensation, and carcass yield. Each student research team was required to calculate performance and carcass parameters for statistical analysis and develop a research manuscript. Through completion of the research project, students were required to apply principles of animal feeding to broiler management, analyze the results of the study for determination of pertinent trends, synthesize conclusions from the resulting data, and evaluate the implications of innovative feeding regimes for broiler production. Based on the results of this project, the incorporation of a comprehensive research study into an undergraduate animal sciences course strengthened critical thinking, problem-solving, and team building abilities in students and taught animal research techniques.
poultry, critical thinking, problem-solving, research skills