Acquire basic critical academic research skills relevant to MEEM master.|
After completing the module the student will be able to:
- Explain how scientific claims to knowledge differ from other claims to knowledge (e.g. from the arts, folklore, and religion).
- Differentiate between ‘the scientific method’ and other ways of investigating and deriving knowledge (e.g. journalism, police investigation, fortune-telling).
- Discuss the differences between scientific research in the natural sciences and scientific research in the social sciences and apply these criteria to a concrete case.
- Evaluate a text or a presentation critically in order to determine if it qualifies as ‘scientific’ or not and justify the conclusion reached on the basis of acquired knowledge about science and the scientific method.
This module teaches the basic research skills necessary for completion of assignments within the MEEM programme. It starts with the basic question: ‘What is science?’ to prompt students to reflect critically about the ‘scientific enterprise’ and how it differs from other ways of knowing the world and making predictions about future outcomes. By drawing on fundamental discussions in philosophy of science, students learn to distinguish between types of science (natural versus social, applied versus fundamental, formal versus real) as well as to assess the relevance of such distinctions. By focusing on the concept of ‘the scientific method’, they learn how to appraise sources of knowledge and to distinguish between scientific and non-scientific sources and claims even where seemingly identical research techniques are employed (e.g. interviews, observation, surveys). Finally, students discuss the differences and similarities between research in the social sciences and scientific research in the natural sciences, and learn about some of the unique constraints of carrying out research in the social sciences|