Faculty of Science

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.




Associate Professor Roslyn Gleadow (Clayton); Dr Richard Burke (Clayton); Dr. Joash Tan Ban Lee (Malaysia)



  • First semester 2016 (Day)
  • Second semester 2016 (Day)


  • First semester 2016 (Day)
  • Second semester 2016 (Day)


Science and technology are the basis of modern life yet most people do not understand how discoveries are made or commercialised. In SCI2010 you will examine the core elements of modern science by looking back at the people, cultures, events and discoveries that allowed science to emerge and contributed to the establishment of key concepts such as empiricism, scepticism and rationalism. This unit will equip you with skills to assess the validity of scientific information, to distinguish between real science, bad science and pseudoscience. The value of science in solving real world issues, and improving the human condition are discussed using current examples. Students will benefit from critical evaluation of a wide variety of literature, ranging from peer-reviewed scientific publications to web sites promulgating pseudoscientific remedies. These skills will help your analysis and communication of science and other disciplines. You will complete assignments that will help improve your written and verbal communication to a range of audiences including politicians, managers, the general public and your fellow educated specialists. You will uncover and strengthen your own personal and professional ethical standpoint on current issues such as vaccines, the funding of research by multi-national corporations and plagiarism. Together the topics covered in SCI2010 give you a solid foundation on which to forge a professional career whether it is directly related to science or not.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Outline the central components of scientific thinking and their historical origins;
  2. Distinguish science from pseudoscience and bad science;
  3. Acquire, critically analyse and communicate complex scientific ideas and information;
  4. Present scientific information using different media including formal and informal writing, spoken presentations and visual media;
  5. Discuss the purposes of, and methods behind, effective science communication and identify how approaches can be adapted for different audiences;
  6. Develop a research question within a given set of topics and address it using the primary scientific literature;
  7. List the ways in which science is regulated and assess their effectiveness in promoting ethical professional practice;
  8. Identify different destinations for science graduates and the list generic and technical skills that will help them gain employment.


Workshop participation and activities: 15%
Spoken presentation(s): 5%
Written assignment(s): 40%
Examination (2 hours): 40%

Workload requirements

Two hours of lectures and one 2-hour workshop per week, or equivalent

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Roslyn Gleadow - Semester One; Dr Richard Burke - Semester Two


Two semesters of first year university