JET Logo

  The Journal of Effective Teaching
an online journal devoted to teaching excellence


Journal of Effective Teaching, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2010  

Keyes, G. (2010).Teaching the Scientific Method in the Social Sciences. The Journal of Effective Teaching, 10(2), 18-28. [Full Text]


Many undergraduates can tell you what the scientific method means but just a little prob-ing reveals a rather shallow understanding as well as a number of misconceptions about the method. The purpose of this paper is to indicate why such misconceptions occur and to point out some implications and suggestions for teaching the scientific method in the social sciences. This paper describes how students come to internalize key words and views about science without grasping some important concepts such as inference. I sug-gest that misunderstandings and misconceptions about science are the result of how it is transmitted to students. Misconceptions are easily perpetuated through the twin processes of diffusion and socialization. The social sciences can provide a corrective to this situa-tion by first recognizing how textbooks and teaching approaches may contribute to the problem and, secondly, by developing innovative teaching strategies. This essay is based on observations made while teaching introductory anthropology and sociology courses to students of all majors.


Keywords: Scientific Method, Science, Social Science, Misconceptions about science.