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Science Methodology


Admission requirements

The course is meant for MSc and PhD students in any of the natural sciences who are performing scientific research projects.


During the BSc and MSc education students learn lots of scientific facts, but do they know how science works? In this course the basic principles of the methodology used in the natural sciences are taught. Also current practices, like the ‘publish or perish’ dogma and the importance of impact and rankings as well as fraud and integrity in science will be discussed.

Learning goals

The aim is to let the student contemplate concepts like ‘truth’, ‘experiments’, ‘models’, ‘confirmation/falsification’ and make the student aware of the limitations of the ability to make objective observations.


Mondays and Wednesday at 15:30 – 17:15, location to be announced.
1. February 13 dr Gijsbers: From observation to theory I
2. February 15 dr Gijsbers: From observation to theory II
3. February 20 dr Gijsbers: Truth and objectivity
4. February 22 dr Gijsbers: Truth and empiricism
5. March 5 dr Gijsbers: Reduction and emergence
6. March 7 dr Gijsbers: Causality
7. March 14 dr Gijsbers: The scientific method in the current practice
8. March 19 dr de Rijcke: Evaluation of scientific research
9. March 21 prof. Wouters: Sense and nonsense of rankings
10. March 28 prof. Sixma: Ethics, integrity and fraud in Science

Mode of instruction

Lectures and discussions


Blackboard will be used

Reading list



Blackboard > Courses FWN > Life Science and Technology > Master >
Vakken 2011-2012 > Science Methodology (LST-SM-1112FWN), enroll

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for more information on how to apply.

Contact information

Prof. Dr. Marcellus Ubbink (Institute of Chemistry)
Tel: 071-5274638, E-mail: