2 x 50-minute lectures weekly
1 x 50-minute tutorial weekly
1 x 20-minute on-line exercises weekly
1 x 20-minute on-line tutorial weekly
Enrolment not permitted
1 of SPOC8701, STEM1001 has been successfully completed
Topic description
This topic explores the fundamental principles of science and critical reasoning. Students will study the historical development of scientific methods and natural philosophy and investigate the strengths and limitations of scientific knowledge as well as some common misconceptions about scientific practice. Students will consider the characteristics of good science and bad science and learn how to distinguish between them. Students are expected to develop and to demonstrate their ability to distinguish fact from opinion, science from pseudo-science, and evidence from hearsay. Throughout this topic students will develop critical reasoning, research and teamwork skills for use in study and the workplace, as well as their general and academic written and oral communication skills.
Educational aims
This topic aims to introduce students to:

  1. The philosophy of science
  2. Key issues in the epistemology of science
  3. The nature of scientific evidence and what counts as reliable evidence
  4. the characteristics of “Good Science” and “Bad Science”
  5. Critical reasoning
  6. Effective oral and written communication in academic and professional settings; and

    the diversity and application of English language styles, practices, conventions and forms in academic, professional, public and personal communication
Expected learning outcomes
At the completion of this topic, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Identify and expound upon key individuals, groups, events and developments that have shaped the philosophy of science throughout history
  2. Appreciate the validity, methods, and scope of human scientific endeavours
  3. Assess the reliability, quality and relevance of scientific evidence
  4. Apply awareness of the characteristics of “Good Science” and “Bad Science” to evaluating issues, debates and discussions
  5. Transfer skills in critical reasoning to practical situations
  6. Write persuasively and properly for a range of purposes and audiences
  7. Analyse argument and provide a critical response orally and in writing