SCI101 What is Science? (8)

This subject introduces the basic principles and fundamental tools of science. Science as a philosophy of life and a method for understanding the world is discussed along with concepts of the scientific method, framing a hypothesis, designing an experiment, collecting and analysing data, and presenting results in a variety of formats and to a range of audiences. Researching the scientific literature and assessing information and data quality in relation to scientific endeavours is also covered. Pseudo-science and how science influences society (and vice versa), as well as standards of scientific professionalism and career development, are explored.


Session 1 (30)
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: SCI101. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate that scientific knowledge is developed through research and evidence, and distinguish between valid science, pseudo-science and general knowledge
  • be able to locate and critically evaluate scientific literature and data, and use it to facilitate planning, problem solving and decision making
  • be able to use various technologies (e.g. Office, simulation software) to generate and analyse data, and communicate in a range of formats (written and oral)
  • be able to effectively summarise the impact of experimental conditions on measured outcomes
  • be able to discuss examples of how scientific ideas have influenced social values and how social values have influenced the progress of science
  • be able to present balanced arguments founded upon scientific, social and ethical principles using evidence from the scientific literature to support a point of view
  • be able to develop problem-management and opportunity-development approaches commonly used for personal, professional and career development purposes
  • be able to identify personal, academic and professional capabilities which can impact post-university employment and career development


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • The structure of scientific data and knowledge
  • Determining the veracity of scientific information
  • The scientific method and science as an evolutionary process
  • Principles of data analysis
  • Types of data and data presentation
  • Scientific writing and communication
  • Science and ethics
  • Science and society

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of SCI101 in Session 1 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Basic key skills builder (bksb)
Faculty academic integrity module
Essay outline
Scientific report
Oral presentation
Creating self-assessment tools

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.