Undergraduate Course: Science and Society 1A (STIS08004)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course considers the social nature of science and scientific knowledge, as well as the relationship between science and wider society. Unit 1 (the anatomy of science) systematically explores important elements of scientific practice; for instance, observation, experimentation, theories and replication; and examines their fundamentally social character. In Unit 2 (Science Contextualised), students study the place of science in relation to, and as a central tool in shaping, other major social phenomena. Topics here include: Science and Politics; Science and the Environment; Science and the Law; Scientific Expertise in Society. The course studies science internally and externally using a variety of readings, including historical and sociological case studies from physics, biology and chemistry. The course will be intelligible to students of any disciplinary background.
This course is divided into 2 units. Unit 1 (the anatomy of science) systematically explores important elements of scientific practice; for instance, observation, experimentation, theories and replication; and examines their fundamentally social character. In Unit 2 (Science Contextualised), students study the place of science in relation to, and as a central tool in shaping, other major social phenomena. Topics here include: Science and Politics; Science and the Environment; Science and the Law; Scientific Expertise in Society.
Students can get a flavour of the course from a text that will be used several times: Steven Yearley, (2005). Making Sense of Science. London: Sage. This is available as an e-book in the library (and as an actual book).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| Available to all first and second year students
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 30,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Assessed by a short assessment approx. midway through the course (for up to 30% of the overall mark); and a long 2,000 word essay, submitted via Learn to a deadline date, for the remaining possible 70% of the overall mark. In order to pass the course, the long essay must be passed.
||Students will receive written feedback on both their pieces of work. They will receive the first feedback in time to use it in the preparation of the longer essay.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Question the usual picture of science as something separate from society, and of scientific knowledge as pure, objective truth. Replace this picture with a more nuanced and empirically accurate understanding of science, scientists and scientific knowledge.
- Appreciate and understand the complexities of scientific practice and of scientific judgement.
- Understand and make use of the basic tools of the sociology of science and of scientific knowledge. Grasp the central tenet that science is a social institution, and apply this comprehension in exploring the work of scientists, for example in legal or in media contexts.
- Describe the position of science as part of wider society, and account for the development of scientific knowledge in relation to other major social phenomena. Also, discuss the behaviour of scientists, politicians and other stakeholders based on such social factors.
- Be able to use both primary and secondary sources in essays and written analyses. Reading List
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Faye Wade
|Course secretary||Mr Alexander Dysart
Tel: (0131 6)51 5197