CHEM 2000 - Introduction to Chemistry
Week 3 Lab Activity – Rethinking the Scientific Method
25 points total
In this lab activity, I am asking you to reflect on the scientific method – does it need some reworking?
Steps to completing this activity:
1. Watch at least 2 of the 4 videos linked below. You can read the descriptions below each link or watch the first minute or so of each video to choose which two you watch fully. You are welcome to watch more than 2 of these videos or to seek out other videos or articles if you’d like.
2. Develop a new scientific method that you believe best describes the process of scientific investigation, based on the information from our lab video, the videos you watch, and your own experiences and thoughts of science. A flowchart (similar to how the traditional scientific method has been displayed) would likely be a clear and easy way to present it, but you can choose a different visual if you’d prefer. You may decide that you do not want to change the scientific method at all! In that case, go ahead and show your preferred version of it.
3. Write a short reflection on your redesigned scientific method, explaining why you have chosen that new design or why you chose not to change the traditional method. Include in your reflection what specific insights from any of the videos you watched influenced your thinking and how. Your reflection should be 2-3 full paragraphs long (it can be longer, but no more than 5 paragraphs, please).
What you will submit to D2L: one single document in either .doc or .pdf format, containing your scientific method flowchart/visual and your reflection below it.
There is no correct answer to this assignment; rather, I am asking that you learn about and reflect on the structure of scientific research and the nature of scientific inquiry. Your assignment will be graded on completion and on the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of your work. Don’t forget to include clear connections to the videos that you watch in your reflection. You may find that some of the videos conflict with each other or that you disagree with some of the points that they make, and that’s completely okay!
The pursuit of ignorance (Stuart Firestein, TED talk)
Description from website: What does real scientific work look like? As neuroscientist Stuart Firestein jokes: It looks a lot less like the scientific method and a lot more like "farting around … in the dark." In this witty talk, Firestein gets to the heart of science as it is really practiced and suggests that we should value what we don't know — or "high-quality ignorance" — just as much as what we know.
The scientific method is crap (Teman Cooke, TEDx talk)
Description from website: Teman Cooke holds a Ph.D. in theoretical physics but has no love for the scientific method. He explains an interesting alternative that will challenge your thinking.
Why we should trust scientists (Naomi Oreskes, TED talk)
Description from website: Many of the world's biggest problems require asking questions of scientists — but why should we believe what they say? Historian of science Naomi Oreskes thinks deeply about our relationship to belief and draws out three problems with common attitudes toward scientific inquiry — and gives her own reasoning for why we ought to trust science.
The Times and Troubles of the Scientific Method (Hank Green, SciShow)
Description from website: Science is working tirelessly night and day to disprove its own theories about how the universe works (or at least, that's what science thinks it's doing). Hank tells us a quick history of how we came to create and adopt the scientific method and then gives us a vision of the future of science (hint: it involves a lot more computers and a lot less pipetting).
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