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Scientific Literacy

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Learning
Objectives
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
principles.”
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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.
Evidence
z vs. Opinion

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


between evidence and opinion.
▪ Evidence includes observations and conclusions. Observable
facts.
▪ 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.
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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.
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Skepticism

▪ 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.”
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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
reasoning?
▪ 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


dislikes.
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Analyzing Scientific
Claims

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


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

Q: What is the bias in this


experiment?
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
controlled.
z How Do You Research Scientific
Questions?

▪ 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
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The End