The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


This course will provide a historical background to contemporary practices in scientific research. It will explore the different ways that people have described the scientific enterprise and provide guidance in doing and using science. The course provides a narrative treatment of material traditionally described under the headings of history & philosophy of science and research methods. The course should be useful both to people who manage or make use of contemporary scientific research and to those who intend to carry it out themselves.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 2 - 2018.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. To place modern science within its historical and social contexts.

2. To problematise the distinctions between *science* and *non-science* and between *science* and *technology*.

3. To elucidate the relationships between society, science and technology.

4. To investigate the conditions which encourage or inhibit the growth of science.

5. To clarify methods of research that have general application across the sciences.

6. To explore the truth status of the intellectual products of scientific work.


This course begins with an exploration of the place of science and technology in traditional societies. We will then look at the rise of modern science, moving from the peak of traditional science to the beginning of modern science. This will form the basis of an analysis of the pattern of scientific history and the roots of contemporary research methods. These first sections of the course provide the foundation for selected cases which draw out the connections between science and technology, and provide clear examples of some features of the pattern of scientific history.

Assumed knowledge

Completion of some undergraduate science.

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Modelling change in scientific communities

Written Assignment: Communicating understanding of pivotal events in science, maths or technology