SCI2010 - Scientific practice and communication - 2017

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.




Professor Roslyn Gleadow (Semester One, Clayton)

Dr Richard Burke (Semester Two, Clayton)

Dr Joash Tan Ban Lee (Malaysia)

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)
  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


  • First semester 2017 (Day)
  • Second semester 2017 (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 origins of science and the way in which science progresses.
  2. Acquire, critically analyse and communicate complex scientific ideas and information.
  3. Discuss the purposes of, and methods behind, effective science communication and identify how approaches can be adapted for different audiences.
  4. Outline the ways in which science is regulated and assess their effectiveness in promoting ethical professional practice.
  5. Identify different destinations for science graduates and list transferable and technical skills that will help them gain employment.


Workshop participation and activities: 10% + Spoken presentation(s): 10% + Written assignment(s): 40% + Examination (2 hours): 40% + Hurdle requirement: To pass this unit students must achieve a minimum score of 18/60 (30%) for the within-semester assessment component and a minimum of 12/40 (30%) for final end-of-semester exam and a final unit mark of 50%

Workload requirements

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

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


Two semesters of first year university