Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > UW Bothell Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Susan M Waters
BES 301
Bothell Campus

Science Methods and Practice

Overview of the scientific method, emphasizing the development of testable hypotheses, scientific writing and analysis.

Class description

BES 301 is a general introduction to the practice of science, intended as an overview of the scientific process. You’ll learn by doing, working with real datasets to research the questions that you generate. Since your instructor is an ecologist, we will use ecological datasets as our jumping-off point for immersing ourselves in the scientific process.

This course is required for science students in IAS (STE, STS, ES and BSES) and S&T (Biology), and is also open to others who are interested in scientific inquiry. You’ll learn approaches to communicating science, analyzing and presenting data, and reviewing literature. You can expect to learn approaches to data analysis, data presentation, literature searching and science writing that will be applicable to advanced science courses at UWB and to doing science in general.

You receive W (writing) credit for completing this course. A W course requires that you write and revise 10-15 pages. You will do this in the context of writing a scientific paper during the second half of the quarter, and you will receive feedback from both the instructor and your peers as you revise sequential sections of the paper. Find more info about writing courses here.

Student learning goals

1. Students will become familiar with basic processes of science and how science is actually practiced in various settings.

2. Students will develop skills in detailed steps of observation-driven investigations, including crafting of scientific questions and hypotheses, research design, and the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data.

crafting of scientific questions and hypotheses, research design, and the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. 3. Students will learn and practice critical analysis of quantitative scientific data, including the use of statistical and graphical approaches.

4. Students will develop abilities to search for information in the scientific literature and critically read such information.

5. Students will conduct research collaboratively, exchanging ideas with others and gaining experience with peer review.

General method of instruction

Lecture, discussion, student presentations, collaborative group work

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Significant writing; computer-based data analysis; graphical interpretation; reading of primary literature

Course includes short assignments as well as a large final paper constructed from original analysis of a dataset, and written in the format of a scientific journal article


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Susan M Waters
Date: 11/18/2013