Higher Education

A Beginner's Guide to Scientific Method, 4th Edition

  • Stephen S. Carey Portland Community College
  • ISBN-10: 1111305552  |  ISBN-13: 9781111305550
  • 160 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2004, 1998, 1994
  • © 2012 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $65.50
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This concise yet comprehensive guide provides an introduction to the scientific method of inquiry as well as detailed coverage of the many misapplications of scientific method that define pseudoscience. Compact enough to be used as a supplementary book in a science class, yet thorough enough in its coverage to be used as a core text in a class on scientific method, this text assists students in using the scientific method to design and assess experiments.

Features and Benefits

  • An introduction to the scientific method which acknowledges that good science must remain utterly open to revision.
  • Over one hundred practical, relevant exercises and examples address common conceptual issues and pitfalls confronted in students' own practices of scientific learning.
  • Real-life examples from scientific literature provide immediate practical applications of the concepts encountered in the book.
  • Detailed, though optional, discussion of the differences between genuine and pseudoscientific claims.
  • Quick reviews encourage the reader to stop and reflect after completing each important topic.

Table of Contents

1. SCIENCE. Just What is Science? Asking Why. Scientific Method. The Consequences of Science. Scientific Method in Daily Life. Things to Come. Exercises
2. OBSERVATION. Making Accurate Observations. Anomalous Phenomena. Observing Anomalies. The Burden of Proof. Concept Quiz. Exercises
3. EXPLANATION. Explanation, Theory and Hypothesis. Causation. Correlation. Causal Mechanisms. Underlying Processes. Laws.
Function. The Interdependence of Explanatory Methods. Rival Explanations and Ockham’s Razor. Explanation and Description. Ultimate Explanations. Concept Quiz. Exercises.
4. EXPERIMENTATION. The Basic Method. Confirmation and Rejection. Designing a Good Test. Real World Experiments. How Not to Design a Test. Conceptual Vagueness. Testing Extraordinary Claims. Predictive Clarity. Bias and Expectation. Concept Quiz. Exercises.
5. ESTABLISHING CAUSAL LINKS. Causal Studies. Ruling Out Chance. Multiple Causal Factors. Randomized, Prospective and Retrospective Studies. Reading Between the Lines. Concept Quiz. Exercises.
6. FALLACIES IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE. What is a Fallacy? False Anomalies. Questionable Arguments by Elimination. Illicit Causal Inferences. Unsupported Analogies and Similarities. Untestable Explanations and Predictions. Empty Jargon. Ad Hoc Rescues. Exploiting Uncertainty. Science and Pseudoscience. Concept Quiz. Exercises.

What's New

  • The explanations have been thoroughly to ensure clarity and readability for the student audience.
  • The discussion of causation in Chapter 3 has been greatly expanded.
  • In Chapter 4, the basic framework for discussing experimental design has been revised to center on false confirmation and rejection.
  • In Chapter 5, the discussion of probability and statistical inference is greatly simplified. Each section now begins with and explains all points in terms of recent causal studies.
  • Two new pseudoscientific fallacies have been added and the text now contains many new and recent illustrations of all the fallacies.
  • Dozens of new exercises and examples have been added to every chapter.
  • End of chapter concept quizzes have been added.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Stephen S. Carey

Stephen Carey received his Ph.D. in logical theory and the history of logic from the University of Oregon. In addition to A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO SCIENTIFIC METHOD, he has also written THE USES AND ABUSES OF ARGUMENT. He currently teaches logic, philosophy of science, and philosophy of religion at Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon. He is an avid tennis and pickleball player, and runs a marathon every year.