Being a Scientist: Tools for Science Students

By Michael H. Schmidt

© 2019

Being a Scientist is a comprehensive introduction to the many aspects of scientific life beyond the classroom and laboratory. Written with undergraduate science majors in mind, the book covers ethics, the philosophical bases of scientific methods, library research, reading, peer review, creativity, proposal and paper writing, and oral and poster presentations.

In contrast to other texts in the field, which often take a simple prescriptive approach to these topics, Being a Scientist connects them to the historical and philosophical roots of modern science, as well as the common experiences of all people.

Written in a conversational style, the book makes use of metaphor, historical anecdote, and hypothetical research about everyday household questions. This approach helps undergraduates learn basic research skills without being too intimidated by the advanced concepts, vocabulary, and methods which are encountered in looking at the current scientific literature.

Being a Scientist is a textbook for a semester-long course devoted to teaching research and communication skills to undergraduate science majors, but it can be adapted for use in summer research experiences, capstone research courses, and other courses throughout the undergraduate curriculum.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Illustrations: 16
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

Being a Scientist is an innovative text designed to help undergraduate students become members of the scientific community.

Being a Scientist: Tools for Science Students

By Michael H. Schmidt

© 2019

Being a Scientist is a comprehensive introduction to the many aspects of scientific life beyond the classroom and laboratory. Written with undergraduate science majors in mind, the book covers ethics, the philosophical bases of scientific methods, library research, reading, peer review, creativity, proposal and paper writing, and oral and poster presentations.

In contrast to other texts in the field, which often take a simple prescriptive approach to these topics, Being a Scientist connects them to the historical and philosophical roots of modern science, as well as the common experiences of all people.

Written in a conversational style, the book makes use of metaphor, historical anecdote, and hypothetical research about everyday household questions. This approach helps undergraduates learn basic research skills without being too intimidated by the advanced concepts, vocabulary, and methods which are encountered in looking at the current scientific literature.

Being a Scientist is a textbook for a semester-long course devoted to teaching research and communication skills to undergraduate science majors, but it can be adapted for use in summer research experiences, capstone research courses, and other courses throughout the undergraduate curriculum.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Illustrations: 16
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "Being a Scientist is wide in its scope, covering such topics as research ethics to scientific writing. Written with a more personable style, this book will help research trainees, and will be an excellent single resource for students."


    Pasan Fernando, Department of Biology, Carleton University

    "Science faculty are not trained to teach writing, and that is a skill that needs to be developed if one is to teach such a course. Many science faculty feel that it is not possible to grade writing fairly or consistently. Furthermore, there is still an unfortunate attitude among some faculty that students should learn these skills by osmosis. Thus, the challenges are both in having faculty with the skills to teach such courses and overcoming the belief that such courses are not necessary. Being a Scientist addresses both issues. The discussion of overcoming doubts is excellent. Second, having rubrics, discussion guides, and explicit learning objectives at hand will be very useful for students in most science fields."


    Penny J. Beuning, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Northeastern University
  • Author Information

    Michael H. Schmidt is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at California State University, San Marcos.
  • Table of contents

    List of Figures and Tables
    Preface

    Introduction
    The Organization and Use of the Book

    To Instructors

    To Students

    Acknowledgments

    Part I: Thinking, and Behaving, Like a Good Scientist

    1. What Does It Mean to Be a Scientist?

    1.1 Why Become a Scientist?
    1.2 Scientists Are Humans
    1.3 Defining Science, and Scientists, More Precisely
    1.4 Aristotle, Medieval Scholasticism, and Deduction
    1.5 Francis Bacon and Induction
    1.6 Hume and the Problems with Induction
    1.7 William Whewell and Hypotheses
    1.8 Dealing with Doubts about Induction: Popper
    1.9 Holistic Views: Duhem, Kuhn, Latour, and Ziman
    1.10 Is There a Conclusion?

    2. What Should We Do, and Why? The Questions of Ethics

    2.1 Why Study Ethics?
    2.2 Systems of Ethics
    2.3 Consequentialism and Utilitarianism
    2.4 Social Contractarianism
    2.5 Deontology
    2.6 Virtue
    2.7 Ethics of Care
    2.8 Using Different Approaches to Ethics
    2.9 Ethics in Practice
    2.10 About Moral Courage
    2.11 The Ethics of Science
    2.12 The Importance of Honesty
    2.13 The Ethos of Science
    2.14 The Context of Science
    2.15 Resources for Scientific Research
    2.16 Ethical Conflicts

    Part II: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

    3. The Scientific Literature: An Overview of the Terrain, and a Brief Hike In

    3.1 History, Metaphors, and Literature
    3.2 Subramanyam’s Cycle
    3.3 Approaching the Landscape
    3.4 Kinds of Books
    3.5 A Plan
    3.6 Finding Books and Reference Works

    4. Scientific Journals, Past and Present

    4.1 The History of Scientific Literature
    4.2 Did Modern Science Start with Gutenberg?
    4.3 The Rise of Scientific Journals
    4.4 The Evolution of the Scientific Journal and the Scientific Article: The Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries
    4.5 What Can Be Found in Scientific Journals Today?
    4.6 What about the Future?
    4.7 Climbing into the Journal Literature
    4.8 What’s in a Name?

    5. Abstracts Collections and Databases

    5.1 A Brief History of Abstracting and Indexing
    5.2 Investigating Databases
    5.3 Implementing a Search

    6. Using Cited References: Backward and Forward

    6.1 The Importance of Cited References
    6.2 Looking Backward
    6.3 The Limitations of Looking Backward, and the Need to Look Forward

    7. Reading a Scientific Paper

    7.1 Why Is It So Hard?
    7.2 Hints for Taking a First Look at a Scientific Paper
    7.3 Reading for Arguments
    7.4 Local Arguments and Larger Arguments
    7.5 Thinking beyond the Paper

    8. Peer Review

    8.1 Benefits and Limitations
    8.2 Historical Background
    8.3 Modern Peer Review in Practice
    8.4 Some Problems with Peer Review, and Some Possible Solutions

    Part III: Planning, Documenting, and Presenting Science

    9. Starting Research: A Different "What Should We Do?" Question

    9.1 The Importance of Creativity
    9.2 Divergent Thinking on a Big Scale
    9.3 Divergent Thinking in a Narrower, More Advanced Context
    9.4 Convergent Thinking
    9.5 Visualization
    9.6 Situating Your Research: The Scientific Literature

    10. Refining Research Ideas and Writing a Proposal

    10.1 From Ideas to a Proposal
    10.2 Practical Quantitation
    10.3 Using Quantitative Data
    10.4 What about Statistics?
    10.5 Anticipating Problems
    10.6 Writing the Proposal

    11. The Laboratory Notebook

    11.1 The Evolution and Importance of the Laboratory Notebook
    11.2 The Format of a Notebook Entry
    11.3 The Laboratory Notebook in Real Life
    11.4 Electronic Laboratory Notebooks

    12. Scientific Writing: Grammar and Style

    12.1 Tense and Voice
    12.2 General Writing and Style Suggestions
    12.3 A Quick Guide to Tense and Voice

    13. Assembling and Writing a Scientific Paper

    13.1 Some Perspective
    13.2 Authorship
    13.3 Starting with the Results
    13.4 Distinguishing the Results and Discussion
    13.5 Results, Selected and Presented
    13.6 Writing about the Results
    13.7 Methods
    13.8 Discussion
    13.9 How about a Conclusions Section?
    13.10 Introduction
    13.11 Abstract
    13.12 Title
    13.13 Putting It All Together

    14. Oral and Poster Presentations

    14.1 Historical Perspective
    14.2 The Structure of Oral Presentations of Research
    14.3 Visual Aids
    14.4 How Much Text?
    14.5 Tables and Figures for Presentations
    14.6 Slide Style
    14.7 Talking the Talk
    14.8 Poster Presentations
    14.9 Poster Graphics
    14.10 Poster Layout and Display
    14.11 Supporting Your Poster

    15. Closing Thoughts

    Notes
    Index

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