Methodology of Science

General information

Summer term 2019/2020, Thursday, 09:05–10:35, room G20

Course description: The aim of this course is to provide students with an overview of the basic concepts pertaining to scientific research, with special regard to social science and the humanities. As students of this course, you will learn how to formulate a research project, design research questions, propose hypotheses and devise methods of hypothesis-testing. Upon finishing the course, you will be able to make an informed opinion on the wider social importance of the scientific enterprise, on the distinction between science and pseudoscience, on the relation between natural and social science (and the humanities), and on the nature of scientific progress.

Syllabus in PDF

Course feedback

You are encouraged to use this anonymous form to leave feedback on the course. Please feel free to do so multiple times.

  • Feb 27: There were some issues with the form. It should work now.

Basic literature

  • Bielik's Methodology of Science: An Introduction (2019)
  • This book is only available in electronic form. You can download it and print the required parts if you like, or put it on a tablet if you have one.

Recommended literature

  • Here's a list of recommended literature.
    • All of the books are available here. You have to download the whole archive by clicking the icon in the upper right corner.
    • The archive is password-protected. I will give you the password in class. You can also e-mail me about it.


    • There is assigned reading for next class on March 5th (Bielik, pp. 15–37)
    • To change things up a little bit, there's an obligatory assignment for next week (see below).

Obligatory assignment

  • Find an example of a pseudoscience (one that is not mentioned in the presentation). Describe in more detail why it is a pseudoscience, i.e., how it deviates from the "essential features" of science. You should provide at least two reasons (two examples of deviation). These may be related to, for example, the supposed objectivity of the given pseudoscience, its lack of criticism, its inability to self-correct etc. You may want to look at the last presentation – specifically, pp. 26–27 as well as pp. 20–21.
  • Save your assignment as a separate Word document and send it to me by Tuesday, March 3rd (11:59 pm). Word count: 200 to 400 words. Please check for spelling mistakes before turning in your assignment. Please also make sure you submit your own work.
  • Grading:
    • 5 points: legitimate example of a pseudoscience, cogent discussion of two reasons based on the last presentation, no spelling or other formal mistakes
    • 4 points: legitimate example of a pseudoscience, minor issues with one of the reasons provided and/or minor formal mistakes
    • 3 points: legitimate example of a pseudoscience, minor issues with both reasons and/or more serious formal mistakes
    • 2 points: legitimate example of a pseudoscience, major issues with any of the reasons provided
    • 1 points: legitimate example of a pseudoscience
    • 0 points: no submission/plagiarism/incoherent language

Below, you'll find PDFs of course presentations on a weekly basis.

Course downloads