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AK2040 Theory and Methodology of Science with Applications (Computational Science) 7.5 credits

Course memo Autumn 2021-50074

Version 1 – 08/13/2021, 10:11:07 AM

Course offering

Period 1 (Start date 30/08/2021, English)

Language Of Instruction

English

Offered By

ABE/Philosophy

Course memo Autumn 2021

Course presentation

The aim of the course is to provide a deeper understanding of the methodological and underlying philosophical issues that arise in science, and inspire to reflection on such issues within the student’s own area of study. After having taken the course the student should have acquired basic knowledge of the foundational issues in the methodology and philosophy of science.

Headings denoted with an asterisk ( * ) is retrieved from the course syllabus version Autumn 2020

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

The following is an incomplete list of topics covered in the course.

  • Scientific knowledge
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Observations and measurements
  • Experiments
  • Models
  • Statistical reasoning
  • Causes and explanations
  • Philosophy of social science
  • Algorithmic reasoning and its limitations.
  • Risk and risk assessment
  • Research ethics
  • Philosophical theories about the nature of mathematical objects
  • Representational theorems in measurement theory
  • Theoretic values of mathematical models

Intended learning outcomes

After having completed the course, the student should, with regards to the theory and methodology of science, both orally as well as in writing, be able to:

  • Identify definitions and descriptions of concepts, theories and problem areas, as well as identify the correct application of these concepts and theories.
  • Account for concepts, theories and general problem areas, as well as apply concepts and theories to specific cases.
  • Critically discuss the definitions and applications of concepts and theories as they applies to specific cases of scientific research.
  • Translate sentences of ordinary mathematical English into a formal language.
  • chart the main lines of thought in some different philosophical theories about the nature of mathematical objects and our knowledge of them;
  • describe the content of some representation theorems from the theory of measurement, and discuss the import of these theorems concerning the relationship between mathematical structures and the material world; and
  • compare different mathematical models of one and the same phenomenon with regard to theoretical virtues such as simplicity, agreement with observations, etc.

Learning activities

Lectures

This course includes the following eleven lectures. They are all available as videos on Canvas to watch whenever you want. Their place in the schedule is a suggestion of when you might view it. The exception is the lecture “Algorithmic reasoning and its limitations” which is given as a campus lecture.

 

  1. Introduction and scientific knowledge (26 minutes)
  2. Scientific inferences (59 minutes)
  3. Observation and measurement (76 minutes)
  4. Experiments (49 minutes)
  5. Models (62 minutes)
  6. Statistics (62 minutes)
  7. Explanations and causes (81 minutes)
  8. Qualitative methods (93 minutes)
  9. Algorithmic reasoning and its limitations
  10. Research Ethics (103 minutes)
  11. Anticipating Risk in Science and Engineering (85 minutes)

 

From the second lecture onward, there is an associated quiz of 15 questions. If you complete the quiz with at least 14 points, you will get 0,5 bonus points for the exam. You can attempt to complete the quiz as many times as you like until it closes. This quiz closes at the end of the week where the lecture is scheduled (Sunday, 23:59, of each week). (The exception is “Algorithmic reasoning and its limitations”, which has its own deadline, see Canvas.) This is to incentivise studying throughout the course, rather than only at the end. Bonus points collected during this period are valid for the exam and the re-exam belonging to this period.

 

In addition to these, there are two “flipped classroom” sessions. In these sessions, the lecturer answers your questions. In this period, they are given only as discussion forum interaction on Canvas. You need to have asked the question before the dates specified for the flipped classroom on Canvas, but you do not need to be present on any lecture nor do you have to watch any video. You can read the answers in the discussion forum at any time after the session.

Seminars, 1,5 credits

This course includes these four mandatory seminars.

 

  1. Definitions, operationalizations and hypotheses
  2. Designing a scientific study
  3. Interpretation, analysis, and evidence
  4. Research ethics

 

For each seminar, there are texts to read and a quiz to complete before you take the seminar. You need 14 points on the quiz before attending. If you attend without having scored 14 points on the quiz, you are not sufficiently prepared, and you will not be marked as attending. You can take the quiz as many times as you want before your seminar.

 

You will take one seminar each seminar week. You join a seminar group on Canvas, under the heading “People”. If you cannot see the heading, make sure you have registered. You will then take the rest of the seminars with this group, the same day and time, each week. You are welcome to switch seminar group during the course, as long as there are vacant spots in the groups under “People”.

 

There is more information about the seminars in the document “Seminar information”.

Project, 3 credits

In this part you will discuss the relationship between mathematics and reality. The part will consist of four lectures and one final assignment, graded pass, fail or revise. More information can be found on Canvas.

Preparations before course start

Literature

There are two main course texts:

  • Experiments, models and methodology by Till Grüne-Yanoff.
  • The Art of Doing Science by Sven Ove Hansson.

In addition, there are three supplemental texts:

  • On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research, which is an excerpt from a text by the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Ethical Thinking by Jesper Ahlin.
  • Algorithmic Reasoning and its Limitations by Tor Sandqvist.

Examination and completion

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Examination

  • PRO1 - Project, 3.0 credits, Grading scale: P, F
  • SEM1 - Seminars, 1.5 credits, Grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 3.0 credits, Grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

A student may request a home exam, with the maximum grade of E, if two requirements are fulfilled: (1) This is the last remaining exam left before graduation. (2) It is not possible for the student to attend the written exam because the student is, at the point of the request, residing outside of Sweden and will be residing outside of Sweden for at least twelve months following the request. The examiner approves or denies these requests.

The section below is not retrieved from the course syllabus:

Examination ( TEN1 )

There is an online exam at the end of the course. It will be available on a separate Canvas course page during the scheduled exam hours. To take this exam you need to register for it on kth.se during the exam registration period.

The exam consists of three parts. Part 1 is a multiple-choice part, primarily examining the first learning outcome. For each question there can be 1-4 correct options and you need to select all correct options and only the correct options to get 1 point. Partial points are not given. Whenever you start part 1 during the exam, you then have one hour to complete it. The bonus points collected during the period are then applied to the score on part 1 in 0,5 increments up to a score of 15.

Part 2 consists of two essay questions. You are here asked to explain and discuss, in your own words, the meaning of some of the course concepts and apply them to specific situations. This part tests the second and third learning outcome, up to grade level C. Each question is graded between 0-5 points, in 0,5 increments.

Part 3 tests learning outcome two and three, on the grade level between C and A. Here you are asked to explain and critically discuss the course terminology in an independent way. You do not have to complete part 3 to pass the exam, but the maximum grade is then C. Completing part 3 cannot increase your grade from below C. This part is graded C, B and A without the use of points, and bonus point cannot increase the grade above C. You have three hours to complete parts 2 and 3.

During the exam you are allowed to access the course material. Each submission will be reviewed for plagiarism. Note that you will not have enough time to complete the exam unless you have studied during the course. You can give your answers in English or Swedish.

Other requirements for final grade

Fullfilled seminar requirements, project requirements and written exam.

Grading criteria/assessment criteria

 

Lärandemål 1:

Identifiera definitioner och beskrivningar av begrepp, teorier och problemområden, samt identifiera den korrekta applikationen av dessa begrepp och teorier.

Learning outcome 1:

Identify definitions and descriptions of concepts, theories and problem areas, as well as identify the correct application of these concepts and theories.

Lärandemål 2:

Redogöra för begrepp, teorier och generella problemområden, samt tillämpa begrepp och teorier på specifika fall.

Learning outcome 2:

Account for concepts, theories and general problem areas, as well as apply concepts and theories to specific cases

Lärandemål 3:

Kritiskt diskutera definitionerna och tillämpningarna av begrepp och teorier med avseende på specifika fall av vetenskaplig forskning.

Learning outcome 3:

Critically discuss the definitions and applications of concepts and theories as they apply to specific cases of scientific research.
A  

Studenten redogör korrekt, samt med stor utförlighet och precision för kursbegrepp, teorier och problemområden samt gör rimliga tillämpningar av dessa begrepp och teorier på ett mycket övertygande sätt.

 

The student provides correct, extensive and precise accounts for concepts, theories and general problem areas, and provides very convincing applications of those concepts and theories to specific cases.

Studenten framställer en välargumenterad diskussion av definitionerna och tillämpningarna av begrepp och teorier med avseende på vetenskaplig forskning på ett utförligt, självständigt och mycket precist sätt.

 

The student presents a well-argued, independent, extensive and very precise discussion of the definitions and applications of concepts and theories as they apply to specific cases of scientific research.
B

 

Studenten redogör korrekt och med precision för kursbegrepp, teorier och problemområden samt gör rimliga tillämpningar av dessa begrepp och teorier på ett övertygande sätt.

 

The student provides correct and precise accounts for concepts, theories and general problem areas, and provides convincing applications of those concepts and theories to specific cases.

Studenten framställer en huvudsakligen välargumenterad diskussion av definitionerna och tillämpningarna av begrepp och teorier med avseende på vetenskaplig forskning på ett utförligt och precist sätt samt med viss självständighet i framställningen.

 

The student presents an extensive, precise, mostly well-argued, and somewhat independent discussion of the definitions and applications of concepts and theories as they apply to specific cases of scientific research.
C  

Studenten redogör korrekt och tydligt för kursbegrepp, teorier och problemområden samt gör rimliga tillämpningar av dessa begrepp och teorier på specifika fall.

 

The student accounts, correctly and clearly for concepts, theories and general problem areas, and provides reasonable applications of these concepts and theories to specific cases.

Studenten framställer en diskussion av definitionerna och tillämpningar av begrepp och teorier med avseende på vetenskaplig forskning på ett precist sätt med ansats till argumentation och självständighet.

 

The student presents a discussion of the definitions and applications of concepts and theories as they apply to specific cases of scientific research in a precise way with an attempt at independent and argumentative reasoning.
D  

Studenten redogör i huvudsak korrekt och med tillräckliga beskrivningar av kursbegrepp, teorier och problemområden och gör acceptabla tillämpningar av dessa begrepp och teorier på specifika fall.

 

The student provides mostly correct and sufficiently satisfactory accounts of concepts, theories and general problem areas, and provides acceptable applications of these concepts and theories to specific cases.

Studenten framställer en diskussion av definitionerna och tillämpningarna av begrepp och teorier med avseende på vetenskaplig forskning utan större felaktigheter eller motsägelser.

 

The student presents a discussion of the definitions and applications of concepts and theories as they apply to specific cases of scientific research without substantial errors or contradictions.
E  

Studenten redogör med knapphändiga beskrivningar i huvudsak korrekt för kursbegrepp, teorier och problemområden och gör acceptabla tillämpningar av begrepp och teorier på specifika fall.

 

The student provides sparse, but mostly correct accounts of concepts, theories and general problem areas and provides acceptable applications of those concepts and theories to specific cases.

Studenten framställer en diskussion av definitionerna och tillämpningarna av begrepp och teorier med avseende på vetenskaplig forskning som knapphändig, eller i enstaka fall felaktig eller motsägelsefull.

 

The student presents a sparse discussion of the definitions and applications of concepts and theories, as they apply to specific cases of scientific research, with some notable errors or contradictions.
Fx

Studenten identifierar ett flertal av definitioner och beskrivningar av begrepp, teorier och problemområden korrekt samt identifierar den korrekta tillämpningen av dessa begrepp och teorier.

 

The student identifies multiple definitions and descriptions of concepts, theories and problem areas, and identifies the correct application of these concepts and theories.

Studentens redogörelser av kursbegrepp, teorier och problemområden är markant inkorrekta eller mycket knapphändiga. Studentens tillämpningar av begrepp och teorier på specifika fall är delvis inkorrekta.

 

The student’s accounts of concepts, theories and general problem areas are very sparse or contains substantial errors. The student’s applications of those concepts and theories are partially incorrect.

Studenten gör en ansats till att diskutera definitionerna och tillämpningarna av begrepp och teorier med avseende på vetenskaplig forskning, men framställningen är markant otydlig, felaktig eller motsägelsefull.

 

The student presents an attempt at a discussion of the definitions and applications of concepts and theories as they apply to specific cases of scientific research, but the discussion is substantially unclear, wrong or contradictory.
F

Studenten identifierar som mest enstaka definitioner och beskrivningar av begrepp, teorier och problemområden korrekt eller identifierar inte den korrekta tillämpningen av dessa begrepp och teorier.

 

The student identifies at most a few definitions and descriptions of concepts, theories and problem areas, or does not identify the correct application of these concepts and theories.

Studentens redogörelser av kursbegrepp, teorier och problemområden saknas eller är (mestadels eller helt) inkorrekta och tillämpningarna av begrepp och teorier på specifika fall saknas eller är i stor utsträckning felaktiga.

 

The student’s accounts of concepts, theories and general problem areas are (substantially or completely) incorrect or missing. The student’s applications of those concepts and theories are largely incorrect or missing.

Studenten genomför inte en diskussion av definitionerna eller inte av tillämpningen av kursbegreppen, eller så är dennes diskussion otydlig, felaktig eller motsägelsefull.

 

The student does not present a discussion of the definitions and applications of concepts and theories as they apply to specific cases of scientific research, or their discussion is unclear, wrong or contradictory.

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

No information inserted

Round Facts

Start date

30 Aug 2021

Course offering

  • Period 1 Autumn 2021-50074

Language Of Instruction

English

Offered By

ABE/Philosophy

Contacts