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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Rebecca M Price
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

This class is a general introduction about how natural scientists conduct their research. It is intended as an overview of the scientific process for science students within IAS (STE, STS, ES and BSES students) and S&T (Biology), as well as others who are interested in scientific inquiry. Youíll learn approaches to science writing, data presentation and analysis, and literature searching and review that will be applicable to advanced science courses at UWB and to interpreting and using science in general. I assume that you had science courses before, and thus that you have developed a basic familiarity with the way scientist investigate their questions and present their work. In the second half of the course, we will analyze common statistical methods for analyzing quantitative data. A prior course in statistics would be helpful, but at the very least you should be comfortable with algebra and probability, and you should be able to interpret graphs and tables. If you donít have this background, I strongly recommend you talk to me before taking this course.

Student learning goals

Read and write scientific papers

Examine the steps of observation-driven investigations, including crafting scientific questions and hypotheses, research design, experimentation and data collection, data analysis, interpretation and presentation.

locate and review scientific literature related to a specific question and set of hypotheses in general and within the UW library system.

conduct research collaboratively to develop your own scientific practice.

General method of instruction

We will meet twice a week, and our meetings will combine lecture and hands-on projects. To prepare for each class, you will need to complete the assigned readings, ensure that you understand the previous classís material and complete the homework assignments.

Recommended preparation

A prior course in statistics would be helpful, but at the very least you should be comfortable with algebra and probability, and you should be able to interpret graphs and tables. If you donít have this background, I strongly recommend you talk to me before taking this course.

Class assignments and grading

Assignment % of final grade Data Analysis Test 25 Peer reviews 12 Letter to the editor 8 Lab notebook, participation, and homework 10 Quizzes and Surveys 15 Paper 30

These assignments are subject to change, as is the contribution of each to the final grade.

see above


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 Rebecca M Price
Date: 05/02/2012