intro to scientific thinking

aka "the methods of rationality"

What does it take to be a scientist? What skills do they have? In fact, every scientist has diverse strengths, and nobody has quite the same skillset. Scientists are, to different extents:

Dreamers

(they have big ideas and come up with new theories)

Planners

(they organize project timelines and feasibility)

Technicians

(they build experiments, learn programming languages, and analyze data)

Designers

(they can illustrate their results elegantly and succinctly)

Networkers

(they find collaborators, bringing people and ideas together)

Writers

(they paint a narrative for their research in manuscripts and funding proposals)

Presenters

(they can describe their work both formally and informally - showmanship)

Teachers

(they pass the knowledge on to the next generation of scientists)

 

einsten_motivation.jpg

Taught as part of a new MSc program, Fall 2021

MODULE OVERVIEW

The goal of this module is to discover your own strengths, work with people who have different strengths, and also add a little bit of everything to your scientific toolbox.

This module is about thinking like a scientist. You need to draw inspiration from all the above parts to be a good scientist, but the one thing they all have in common is a good understanding of the scientific method that can be applied in the real world.

 

LECTURES

Below, you will find materials I created for four lectures on scientific thinking. Clicking on the link will open a PowerPoint in a new window.

Lecture 1: Introduction to scientific thinking

1.5-2 hours

Lecture 2: What makes a good research question?

45-60 minutes

Lecture 3: How to design an experiment and project planning

45-60 minutes

Lecture 4: Interpreting results and the replicability crisis

45-60 minutes

READING RESOURCES

Highly recommended reading for…

 

…developing excellent research questions:

Alvesson, M. & Sandberg, J. (2013). Constructing research questions: Doing Interesting Research. London: Sage.

 

…thinking like a scientist:

Yudkowsky, E. (2015). Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. https://www.hpmor.com/

 

…changing the way you think about how you learn:

Dweck, C. S. (2008). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Random House Digital, Inc.

 

…understanding how statistics can be used and abused:

Huff, D. (1993). How to Lie with Statistics. WW Norton & Company.