Scientific Methods

Monday, March 06, 2006

Welcome to Scientific Methods Course: BCB 703

Course Aim

An introduction to research techniques, planning, execution, analyses, and presentation of information.


  1. Learners have the required skills to plan, execute, analyse and present research material.
  2. Learners can function as part of a team when doing fieldwork.
  3. Learners can interpret research data and research literature.
  4. Learners have the basic skills to write-up research material for submission as a scientific research paper

Stated content as per SAQA

  1. Introduction to research techniques, instruments, and laboratory and field safety
  2. Developing a project proposal and planning field research
  3. Fieldwork, incorporating sampling, identification, and spatial quantification of faunal and floral group
  4. Classification and statistical analysis of data
  5. Presentation of data as tables and figures
  6. Reading and writing skills and interpreting scientific dataPreparation of scientific research for publication

The course will have the following specific topics

  1. Evolution (Human - this theme will carry right through so as to re-enforce that we are creating(and have in the past) and ecological footprint)
  2. Philosophy (hypothesis testing)
  3. Getting information (Library and WWW searches)
  4. Science writing
  5. Skills (e.g. preparing a Power Point presentation)
  6. Making a Web Blog

Assessment (theory section)

  1. Tests 20%
  2. Power Point Presentation 30% (indicating getting primary literature)
  3. Assignments and participation on the Weblog 20% (10% Weblog participation)
  4. Web Blog 30% (your own personal one for the entire Honours Year!)