Science in Practice

Course code SCIT2000Units 10Level 2000Faculty of Science and Information TechnologySchool of Environmental and Life Sciences

This course examines how science is carried out in practice, how scientific findings are communicated, and how science impacts upon and is perceived by society. Topics covered include the differences between good science, poor science and pseudoscience, information management techniques, communication skills, and development of a career portfolio. Students work in multidisciplinary teams to undertake case studies of contemporary scientific problems, producing reports and presentations of their findings. The skills developed during this course are essential training for scientists, and highly valued by employers

Not available in 2015

ObjectivesOn successful completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate competence in the following:

1. Problem solving and critical judgement
- Ability to identify, define and analyse problems
- Ability to use scientific method to form and test hypotheses
- Ability to apply statistical principles and logic
- Ability to locate and use appropriate problem-solving tools

2. Effective communication skills
- Ability to report scientific findings in written, visual and verbal forms
- Ability to communicate a convincing and reasoned scientific argument at a level and style appropriate to the audience

3. Independence and collaboration
- Ability to work on a scientific activity both autonomously and collaboratively in a multidisciplinary environment
- Ability to adapt to changing environments, including new technologies and methods

4. Ethical awareness and professional practice
- Awareness of professional practice in relevant disciplines
- Understanding, appreciation and respect for appropriate conduct and practice
ContentThe course uses lectures to deliver generic content, and student-centred workshops that focus on case studies. On completion of this course, students will be familiar with the following aspects.

Lecture topics (using guest lecturers where appropriate):
- How scientific knowledge is generated
- Difference between good science, poor science and pseudoscience
- Ethics and occupational health and safety in scientific endeavours
- Data gathering and information management (including on-line resources)
- Referencing and plagiarism in science
- Communicating science through written, oral and visual means
- Science as a career and development of a career portfolio (including iLearn)

Workshops (students work independently and in multidisciplinary teams on case studies of contemporary scientific issues and may include)
- Effective library research
- Electronic databases
- Appropriate computer skills such as word processing and spreadsheets
- Critical use of the internet
- Research report writing
- Referencing skills
- Teamwork including peer review, and organisational skills
- Verbal presentation
- Development of a critical summary or press release
- Professional responsibility and awareness of the social context of science
In addition, scientists may be interviewed in order to provide real-life examples of scientific practice and research at the University of Newcastle.
Replacing Course(s)NA
Industrial Experience0
Assumed Knowledge1000 level courses in the BSc program including STAT1070 Statistics for the Sciences
Modes of DeliveryInternal Mode
Teaching MethodsCase Study
Integrated Learning
Student Projects
Assessment Items
Essays / Written Assignments
Examination: Formal
Group/tutorial participation and contribution
Other: (please specify)Portfolio
Presentations - Group
Contact HoursWorkshop: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Lecture: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term