1 x 1-hour tutorial weekly
1 x 1.5-hour workshop weekly
1 x 1-hour computer lab weekly
1 x .5-hour on-line exercises weekly
1 x .5-hour on-line lecture weekly
Enrolment not permitted
SPOC1701 has been successfully completed
Assignments, Peer review, Presentation, Quizzes
Topic description
This topic explores the fundamental principles of science and critical reasoning. Students will investigate the strengths and limitations of scientific knowledge from historical and modern perspectives as well as some common misconceptions about scientific practice. Students will consider the characteristics of valid scientific endeavour and develop skills to critically evaluate scientific information from a broad array of sources. 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. Importance and practice of critical and ethical reasoning and self-reflection in STEM practitioners

  2. Key issues in the epistemology of science

  3. The nature of scientific evidence and what counts as reliable evidence

  4. Key characteristics for identifying valid scientific information and endeavour

  5. Effective oral and written communication in academic and professional settings

  6. The diversity and application of English language styles, practices, conventions and forms in academic, professional, public and personal communication.
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Identify key individuals, groups, events and developments that have shaped the practice of science historically and in the modern world

  2. Appreciate the validity, methods, and scope of human scientific endeavours

  3. Accessing and assessing the reliability, quality and relevance of scientific evidence

  4. Apply awareness of the characteristics of valid scientific information and endeavour to evaluating issues, debates and discussions

  5. Apply skills in critical and ethical reasoning and self-reflection to academic and practical situations

  6. Recognise the inherent social element of modern science as an endeavour co-created by dedicated groups of STEM practitioners from across disciplines

  7. Write persuasively and properly for a range of purposes and audiences

  8. Analyse argument and provide a critical response orally and in writing.