SCISCHOL 202 : Research and Discovery


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An exploration of scientific research skills and communication. Students will develop an understanding of the impact of culture on scientific discovery, the skills to develop and document a research proposal, and how to communicate scientific work in an area of choice.

Course Overview

Science does not operate in a vacuum, but in ongoing interaction with society.  In a series of lecture-guided discussions, we will consider some of the diverse influences that constrain and guide scientific enquiry. Topics will include the public understanding of science, the relationship between values and science, and the limits of science. 

Our discussion will be framed by the ongoing climate crisis. How can science contribute to this global-scale challenge? Why has it proven to be so difficult a challenge to address? How should we conduct science or communicate its results so as to improve the world in which we live? To transform this discussion into action and hands-on experience, and to foster leadership, the final weeks of the course focus upon a student-led project. Here the students will use what they have learned to design and implement their own project(s) to help address the issue of climate change. 

More information about the Science Scholars Programme can be found here: 

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: Programme Director approval

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Critically discuss some of the ways that science interacts with political forces, journalism, and public opinion. (Capability 1 and 6)
  2. Describe and discuss known limitations of scientific investigation. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  3. Explain and critcally evaluate why global challenges are not simply resolved by science or technological innovation. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6)
  4. Critically reflect on how their own research ideas can be brought to bear upon global challenges. (Capability 1, 2 and 6)
  5. Explain and describe the origins of diverse opinions on global challenges. (Capability 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Participation and Engagement 100% Individual Coursework

As a SCISCHOL course this is a pass/fail.

Key Topics

Global challenges. What do they have in common and why have we not been able to solve them?
How do values relate to science? What role does culture play in scientific inquiry?
Public understanding of the climate crisis.
Professional understanding of climate crisis (academic, political & journalistic)
Relations between modern crises and historical societal changes
Modelling, uncertainty, and the limits of science.

Learning Resources

There is no single text book, but readings (scientific and popular articles) and films will be assigned homework in preparation for class discussion.

Special Requirements

Participation in discussion is essential.

Workload Expectations

This course is a 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours of face-to-face time (primarily lectures & discussion) and 4 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 4 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 27/07/2020 12:12 p.m.