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ERIC Number: EJ1092185
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1935-7869
Teaching the Scientific Method in the Social Sciences
Keyes, Grace
Journal of Effective Teaching, v10 n2 p18-28 2010
Many undergraduates can tell you what the scientific method means but just a little probing reveals a rather shallow understanding as well as a number of misconceptions about the method. The purpose of this paper is to indicate why such misconceptions occur and to point out some implications and suggestions for teaching the scientific method in the social sciences. This paper describes how students come to internalize key words and views about science without grasping some important concepts such as inference. I suggest that misunderstandings and misconceptions about science are the result of how it is transmitted to students. Misconceptions are easily perpetuated through the twin processes of diffusion and socialization. The social sciences can provide a corrective to this situation by first recognizing how textbooks and teaching approaches may contribute to the problem and, secondly, by developing innovative teaching strategies. This essay is based on observations made while teaching introductory anthropology and sociology courses to students of all majors.
Journal of Effective Teaching. Center for Teaching Excellence, 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403. Tel: 910-962-3034; Fax: 910-962-3427; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A