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BIOL 169N/PSYCH 169N: What it Means to be Human

Course Guide for BIOL 169N/PSYCH 169N: What it Means to be Human

What is Science?

How Scientific is It? A Checklist
Adapted from U of California, Berkley - Understanding Science

  • Focuses on the natural world
  • Aims to explain the natural world
  • Uses testable ideas
  • Relies on evidence
  • Involves the scientific community
  • Leads to ongoing research
  • Benefits from scientific behavior

Science is a body of knowledge. But it is also a systematic process of discovering new knowledge. That process involves the following steps:

  1. Make an OBSERVATION
  2. Define the PROBLEM
  3. Form the HYPOTHESIS
  4. Conduct the EXPERIMENT
  5. Interpret DATA and draw CONCLUSIONS


Searching for Evidence

For non-experts, searching a subject-specific library database can be challenging. Organized around discipline's knowledge, they can be complex and difficult to navigate. Finding relevant information in these databases often requires discipline-specific keywords that accurately describe the subject. Non-experts may struggle to determine appropriate keywords to use and refine their searches. Finally, the way library databases rank the relevance of results is different than Google. It is not always clear why the first result is number one; this can make it difficult to evaluate which sources are relevant to the topic.

For that reason, we'll be taking a two-step approach to identify evidence. First, we will use Google Scholar to find to isolate specific arguments and the language used to express them. Second, we'll search that language in one of the sources linked on the Biology subject guide.