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NSM 202: The Scientific Enterprise: Home

Course Description

The Scientific Enterprise explores the essential methods and processes that characterize the human endeavor we call science.  Students are invited to actively participate in the process of scientific inquiry, employing scientific and quantitative reasoning skills, as they explore some of the significant issues confronting our society, referencing and utilizing many of the important understandings and ideas of science and technology.   Students are also invited to consider the importance of being a scientifically literate citizen in our democratic society and are encouraged to pursue a lifelong quest for such literacy.  Reflection on the interconnectedness of the knowledge afforded by the scientific enterprise and the reconciliation of this knowledge with Scripture and various religious traditions will strive to support development of a comprehensive Christian view of the natural world.

Course Guide
The course guide for The Scientific Enterprise develops scientific literacy skills by providing access to key resources related to topics discussed in class and principles for using these resources to enhance knowledge.

What is Scientific Literacy?

Scientific literacy is the process by which citizens develop their knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts in order to inform decision making and civic participation.

The National Science Education Standards identifies the following skills for scientific literacy: 

Scientific literacy means that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. It means that a person has the ability to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena. Scientific literacy entails being able to read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions. Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. A literate citizen should be able to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it. Scientific literacy also implies the capacity to pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately (p. 22).

The Process of Scientific Literacy

The Process of Scientific Literacy

Read, Converse, Evaluate

 1. Read with Understanding

Popular press from newspapers and magazines are great sources of new information and are often based on newly published scientific studies and scholarly articles.

 2. Engage in Conversation

Research is not a solitary pursuit. After consuming new information, you should be able to engage in conversations with peers, mentors, and experts about what you have read.

3. Evaluate the Quality

Always ask questions about your reading, like "Is it accurate?", "Does it match other research?" "Does the scholarly research confirm what this popular article is saying?"

Citing Sources

When working with and using information of any kind you must ALWAYS cite your sources. Use the library's citation guide for help getting started with citing sources in APA.  Additionally, the OWL Purdue Writing Lab website contains useful information on citing sources. 

We also have the following books available in the library for help with citations: