Area of Engagement: Scientific Reasoning

Requirement Purpose

Scientific reasoning—in the natural, behavioral, and social sciences—includes the ability to solve problems through the analysis of quantitative empirical data. These methods help students understand how technology and science may affect their lives in areas such as the environment, medicine, human behavior, and scientific ethics. Scientific reasoning courses will provide experiences working with the methods of science including hypothesis formation and testing, systematic observation, and analysis of quantitative data. Students will be able to use the skills they learn about scientific problem solving and data analysis in making personal decisions about technology and science that will help them to be well-engaged global citizens.

Required Course Characteristics

A course in this area will

  • use scientific problem solving in context throughout the course
  • have at least oneinquiry-based experience for the students through which they address some scientific issue by
    • stating a hypothesis
    • designing an empirical study
    • interpreting quantitative data
    • drawing a conclusion about the data
    • communicating the results

Area of Engagement Learning Objectives

Through completion of an SR course, students should be able to

  • formulate problems using the scientific method
  • investigate and draw conclusions about scientific questions using appropriate empirical methods
  • assess the respective strengths and limitations of scientific information from both popular and peer reviewed sources
  • analyze ethical issues related to scientific inquiry (e.g., research involving the use of animals or humans, funding issues, safety issues, recognition that most scientific conclusions have caveats, etc.)

SR Proposal Form