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How Do We Know? Theory and Practice of Science

East Baltimore
3rd term
Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
3 credits
Academic Year:
2021 - 2022
Instruction Method:
Class Times:
  • Tuesday,  4:00 - 5:30pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructors:
Gundula Bosch

Introduction to Online Learning is required prior to participating in any of the School's Internet-based courses.


Do you love to "think science"? Would you enjoy looking at scientific questions through an unusual lens? Do you find stories about scientific discoveries fascinating, and would you like to learn more about what they mean to our scientific practice? Then this course is for you!

This course is part of the R3 Science Education Initiative series (

Examines the nature and philosophical foundations of science using an interdisciplinary approach that emphasizes critical thinking and storytelling; discusses the principles of good scientific practice – rigor, reproducibility and responsibility (the 3R's) - by exploring revolutionary discoveries in the life, public health and natural sciences; elaborates the relationship between theory, practice and serendipity in scientific discovery, and concludes with a discussion of the role of scientists in society.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Illustrate notions of "science", "pseudo-science", "evidence", "knowledge", "paradigm" and "truth", using case examples across the biomedical and public health fields
  2. Examine the impact of revolutionary discoveries on the evolution of scientific evidence in biomedicine and public health.
  3. Appraise the implementation of the norms of good science – rigor, responsibility, and reproducibility (the 3 “R’s”) - in research practice using historic and contemporary case examples
  4. Explain the fundamental methods used and types of data generated (qualitative and quantitative) for scientific decision making in the biomedical and health sciences
  5. Recognize the limits of science by examining potential conflicts between what science can do (epistemology) and what science should do (ethics).
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 30% Participation in discussions and peer feedback
  • 30% Reflection
  • 40% Final Presentation

Instructor Consent:

No consent required

Special Comments:

This course is part of the R3 Graduate Science Program.