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Scientific Literacy


Why is Scientific
Literacy Important?

How Do you Analyze

Scientific Claims?

How Do You Research

Scientific Questions?
z Understanding the Terms

Scientific Literacy
Literacy –The –The “ability to
“ability to read and understand
write.” scientific terms and
Why is Scientific Literacy Important?

Scientific Literacy means understanding

scientific terms and principles well enough
to ask questions, evaluate information and
make decisions.

With Scientific Literacy, you will be

able to identify good sources of
scientific information, evaluate them
for accuracy and apply the
knowledge to questions in your life.
z vs. Opinion

▪ To evaluate scientific information, you must be able to distinguish

between evidence and opinion.
▪ Evidence includes observations and conclusions. Observable
▪ An Opinion is an idea that may be formed by exposure to some
evidence, but it is not confirmed by evidence. Opinions often
involve personal preference or value judgements.

How Do you
Analyze Scientific Literacy gives you the
Scientific tools you need to analyze scientific
claims. Scientific Reasoning gives
Claims? you the process.

You can use Scientific Reasoning

to analyze scientific claims by
looking for bias and errors in the
research, evaluating data and
identifying faulty reasoning.

▪ It is always good practice to approach

things you see and hear online and on
TV with skepticism.
▪ A skeptical attitude means: “to doubt as
to the truth of something.”
Scientific Reasoning

▪ When you encounter a claim, like infomercials,

advertisements, or sales brochures, you can
use Scientific Reasoning to analyze and make
sense of it by:
▪ Identifying faulty reasoning
▪ Forming your own opinion.

Faulty reasoning is unscientific or illogical reasoning.

z Scientific Reasoning
▪ Q: How is scientific reasoning different than Faulty
▪ A: Scientific reasoning requires a logical way of thinking
based on gathering and evaluating evidence.
▪ Q: What is experimental bias?

▪ A: A mistake in the design of the experiment that makes a

particular result more likely.
▪ Q: What is personal Bias?

▪ A: An influence that comes from a person’s likes and

Analyzing Scientific

A researcher advertises online for

participants to take a test and offers a
free thumb drive as a payment
z Scientific Reasoning

▪ Q: What is the bias in this experiment?

▪ A: Experimental Bias.

▪ Q: What was wrong with the design of the

▪ A: Only people that were familiar with computers saw
the add and participated in the experiment.
▪ Biased Results: 100% have excellent computer skills.

Q: What is the bias in this

A: Only 2 Subjects participated.
Q: Does the research support
the claims?
A: No, variables such as time,
the study environment and
extra support were not
z How Do You Research Scientific

▪ To make decisions and to design

experiments, you need relevant and
reliable background information.
▪ Relevant information is knowledge that
relates to the question.
z How do You Research Scientific Questions?
Reliable or consistent and truthful information comes from a
person or organization that is not biased:

▪ Universities ▪ Educational websites

▪ Museums ▪ Google scholar

▪ Government ▪ .gov .org and .edu

agencies are generally more
▪ Nonfiction books reliable than .com
and .net sources
▪ Magazines
The End