For each week, come prepared by completing the reading and writing a 2 page "response" to the piece. Meetings are 2:30 PM Fridays in SUB 305 unless otherwise noted.
- Week I / Jan 8:
Discussion: Is umbrellaology a science? Why or why not? What are our standards and criteria for science? How is umbrellaology the same/different from geology, astronomy, zoology?
- Week II / Jan 15:
Principle Elements of the Nature of Science: Dispelling the Myths (McComas)
Discussion: What "myths" of science have you grown up (academically) believing? Where do these come from? Are they harmful? What misrepresentations to we, both as citizens and scientists, often have of science, and what are their implications?
- Week III / Jan 22:
Lee, L., Frederick, S., & Ariely, D. (2006). Try it, you'll like it: The influence of expectation, consumption, and revelation on preferences for beer. Psychological Science, 17(12), 1054-1058
Discussion: This study is outside of any of our own research fields Is it science? What features of the study make it valid, worthwhile, informative, and scientific? What critiques do you have of the work?
- Week IV / Jan 29:
Popper, K. (1963). Science as Falsification (from Conjuctures and Refutations)
Discussion: What exactly is science? Why is it important to solve this "problem of demarcation"? Is Popper drawing too solid a line between science and non-science? Is it backwards to think of science as progressing through a series of falsifications?
[Note: For the motivated reader, here's even more Popper and the problem of induction (optional).]
- Week V / Feb 5:
Kuhn, T. S. (1962). Historical structure of scientific discovery. Science, 136(3518), 760-764.
Discussion: What does it mean to "discover" something? Could it be that we never actually discover anything? Do we "create" knowledge, instead? Why is this something to consider? What is Kuhn's point in all this?
- Week VI / Feb 12:
Based on our visit to the recent periodicals of the library, characterize how scientific knowledge is documented and communicated.
- Week VII / Feb 19:
Find for yourself one research article to read. Write a response paper that describe the piece, your reaction to it regarding the writing, methods, results, etc. Use the following criteria to select the piece:
- It should be from a peer reviewed, scientific journal.
- You should be interested in it.
- You should feel like you can give it to others in the seminar group to read. (Because you will!)
- Weeks VII and beyond:
Each member of class will lead a discussion of his/her chosen piece. (The week in which your own piece is discussed, you don't need to write a paper.) For each of these, we will consider what is scientific about the work, what methods they used, what the purpose of the piece was, how the research was done, who the author(s) were communicating with, how the research compared with other work you've done or read about, etc. These considerations should go into your response paper as well as the discussion for the week.
- Final week:
What have you learned from the class? What was valuable about it? What wasn't so valuable? This final paper and discussion will be used to help us understand how to teach this seminar in the future, and how to coordinate it with student research experiences in the sciences.