Science (SCIE) 326

Scientific Reasoning (Revision 6)

SCIE 326 course cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: Twelve credits of university-level science courses including at least six credits in courses with lab components.

Faculty: Faculty of Science and Technology

Centre: Centre for Science

SCIE 326 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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This course deals with both the formal and informal aspects of scientific reasoning. Topics covered include: what is science? what is reason? the scientific method; relations between theory and experiment; scientific paradigms; explanation and prediction; what is a scientific theory? principles of reasoning; systems of analytical reasoning; tools for analysis (Venn diagrams, classification, syllogisms, Boolean logic); statistical inference; traps and fallacies of reason; mathematics in science.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to

  • describe what science is and what it is not and discuss the major ideals, principles and paradigms in science.
  • discuss critically the relationship between science and human understanding, philosophy and values.
  • understand the scientific process and how it works, with a focus on the scientific method and the development of scientific theory.
  • describe the role of formal reason, logic and critical thinking as well as the role of mathematics in science.
  • use basic tools of scientific reasoning to construct reason-based arguments.


To receive credit for SCIE 326, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Long Essay 25%
Midterm Exam 35%
Final Exam 40%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Derry, Gregory N. What Science Is and How It Works. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999.

Lessing, Doris. Prisons We Choose to Live Inside. New York: Harper and Row, 1986.

Other Resources

The course materials include a study guide and a student manual

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the SCIE 326 challenge registration, you must complete the two parts of the challenge exam and achieve a grade of at least C- (60 percent) on the entire exam.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Syllabus image credits:

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 6, January 8, 2016.

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