Thursday, August 23, 2012

Scientific method and the Social Studies Fair Project; deadline for paper Fri, Oct 26

Shreveport traffic  by trudeau
Shreveport traffic , a photo by trudeau on Flickr.

Not due as a paper until Fri, Oct 26, the social studies fair project is perhaps best handled as a collaborative effort. Up to 4 students may work together.

The goal for my class is to demonstrate competence in the scientific method. The essential steps are -

- Question / problem
- hypothesis
- gathering of evidence
- conclusion
- bibliography.

I am interested in a paper that demonstrates the ability to gather evidence from no fewer than 4 sources. There should be at least 1. a book source. 2. two articles.
3. an interview.

The principle evidence gathering will take place via a review of the literature. Experiments are not required.

To protect students when working in groups, I will expect a section that reports the division of work. Let's say that Larry Moncrief researched and wrote all of the evidence gathering section, and Mary Bishop contributed only the hypothesis and the conclusion and Will Slaughter contributed only 6 photos. I think that I would need to inquire as to whether one student might get a higher score than the other 3 based on time and responsibility.

Project Topics and Disciplines

Anthropology: Ancient civilizations, Native Americans, customs, festivals, types of shelter and food, religion, etc.
Economics: Money, manufacturing, trade, transportation of goods and services, communication, inflation, stock exchange, common market, government budgets, etc.
Geography: Ecology, foreign countries, lands and people, maps, flooding, rivers, lakes, cities, conservation, etc.
History: Story of mankind, historical events, places, biographies, personalities, wars, etc.
Political Science: Government agencies, FBI, crime, U.S. Constitution, courts system, international governments, etc.
Sociology: Families, crime, mental health, propaganda, life styles, dreams, television, media, etc.

In considering a topic these things should be kept in mind:
1. Value- -The topic should she light on some significant aspect of human experience.
2. Originality- - If a project has been the subject of a previous investigation, the proposed new study should either furnish substantial new evidence or provide a significant new interpretation.
3. Practicality- - Sources must be available which one may use conveniently and without fear of censorship. The scope of the subject should be neither too limited nor too broad.
4. Unity- - Every project must have a unifying theme, or be directed to a certain question or thesis, so that there is a point of departure, the development of the subject, and specific conclusions.