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Unit Summary

Unit type

UG Coursework Unit

Credit points

12

AQF level

7

Level of learning

Introductory

Unit aim

Provides an understanding of the foundations and world of science including its philosophy, history, and the role it plays in the functioning of our society. Science is a tool used by researchers, doctors, psychologists, educators, engineers, managers and legislators to facilitate change and maintain our social and ecological systems: the value of science and its limitations for these uses needs to be recognised. A range of examples are used to investigate these topics including climate change, unconventional gas expansion, genetically modified food and stem cell research. Effective communication often determines the eventual utility of science and this aspect will be explored, with an emphasis on building skills in critical interpretation and communication of science and research.

Unit content

The following topics will be addressed:

  • Introduction to the philosophy and history of science (What is 'science'?). The development of the 'scientific method' will be examined from the 17th Century to the present.
  • Critical evaluation of science and the scientific method. The main theories of scientific reasoning and the limitations of science to the provision of verifiable theories and models will be examined.
  • The role of science in society and vice versa. Science and society influence each other. The ways that science can affect the functioning of societies, and the social influences on the operation of science will be explored using case studies of globally important scientific issues.
  • Communicating science effectively. Effective communication of science is required to allow science to optimise its benefit to society. We will examine the basic strategies and techniques that underpin the effective communication of science.

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

GA1: , GA2: , GA3: , GA4: , GA5: , GA6: , GA7:
On completion of this unit, students should be able to: GA1 GA2 GA3 GA4 GA5 GA6 GA7
1 Describe what 'science' is, including the various approaches that have been used in the development of science to advance knowledge
2 Discuss the values and limitations of the scientific process in contributing to knowledge
3 Critically examine the role of science in contributing to the resolution of important global issues.
4 Demonstrate an ability to critique and produce science-based communications

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Describe what 'science' is, including the various approaches that have been used in the development of science to advance knowledge
    • GA1:
  2. Discuss the values and limitations of the scientific process in contributing to knowledge
    • GA1:
    • GA3:
  3. Critically examine the role of science in contributing to the resolution of important global issues.
    • GA1:
    • GA3:
  4. Demonstrate an ability to critique and produce science-based communications
    • GA1:
    • GA6:

Prescribed texts

  • No prescribed texts.
Prescribed texts may change in future teaching periods.