Developing scientific literacy in introductory psychology
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Developing Scientific Literacy in Introductory Psychology. The Journal Project. Mary Worden-McGuinness, PsyD Ivy Tech Northwest De La Garza Campus (East Chicago). Overview. What is scientific literacy? How does it relate to General Education? How does this project work ?

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Developing Scientific Literacy in Introductory Psychology

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Developing Scientific Literacy in Introductory Psychology

The Journal Project

Mary Worden-McGuinness, PsyD

Ivy Tech Northwest

De La Garza Campus (East Chicago)


  • What is scientific literacy?

  • How does it relate to General Education?

  • How does this project work?

  • How does it apply to my discipline?

  • Q & A

What is Scientific Literacy?

NSES definition

  • "the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision-making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity" (National Science Education Standards, National Academy of Sciences).

Why is Scientific Literacy Important?

  • Workers need it

  • Employers want it

  • Higher levels of study require it

  • Being an informed citizen depends on it

  • It’s part of General Education core

  • It will be assessed later

From Strategic Plan 2010

Integrative/Applied Skills (Workplace Competencies)

  • Application of technology to tasks

  • Critical thinking

  • Customer contact skills

  • Information use skills

  • Presentation skills

  • Problem recognition–definition–solution formulation

  • Reasoning(Paulson, 2001)

Relevant General Education Outcomes

  • 1. Demonstrate critical and creative thinking

  • 4. Apply basic scientific concepts in a variety of settings

  • 5. Communicate effectively (written, oral, symbolic forms)

  • 6. Exhibit quantitative literacy

  • 7. Apply Ethical reasoning

  • 8. Demonstrate the acquisition and use of information

Introducing ideas

  • First Day: Profile sheet—What is one question you have about psychology?

  • First chapter homework—What is one topic you would like to study? What method would you use?

  • First chapter—scientific method

  • Early: show journals; visit virtual library

  • First exam: design a study (essay)

My Core Scientific Concepts

  • Scientific method

  • Skepticism

  • Evidence-based

  • Correlation ≠ Causation

  • Types of research (case study, correlation, experiment)

  • Goals: Description, Explanation, Prediction, Control

Scientific Method

The Journal Project

  • Find a peer-reviewed research article

  • Summarize it

  • Present findings and propose new area of research

  • Use technology to help accomplish the task


Searching Academic Databases: Ivy Tech’s Virtual Library

link to database search

Scientific Method

Group Paper (40 points)

Blackboard Discussion Posting—minimum of 3 (15 points)

File Exchange - Group Y (5 pts)

2nd partPosted by: C PPosted on: Feb 23, 2009

1st part of PaperPosted by: W RPosted on: Feb 11, 2009  

Group ArticlePosted by: W R Posted on: Feb 09, 2009

Group Presentation (15 points)

Each group provides a 10-15 minute ppt presentation on their new study

Peer Evaluation (10 points)

Reflection Paper (15 points)

  • Write an essay reflecting on the process

  • Experience of working on a team, using technology, searching academic databases, designing a study, etc—pluses and minuses

  • You will not be penalized for negative comments; be honest, but support your ideas.


  • Improved information literacy-use of academic search vs. Google

  • Improved scientific literacy: understanding of professional research including scientific method, peer review, familiarity with data

  • Improved ability to synthesize information

  • Technology familiarity: Blackboard, Word and PowerPoint

  • Openness to future research projects (may help in further study)

GENED Assessment: CAAP

  • Scientific reasoning

  • Data representations (e.g., graphs/charts)

  • Research summary (experimental design and interpretation of results)

  • Comparing conflicting viewpoints or hypotheses

  • Understanding, Analyzing, Generalizing

Applicability Across Disciplines

  • Business

  • Engineering

  • Accounting

  • Geography

  • Health Careers

Q & A


Karen Paulson, K. (2001) Using Competencies to Connect the Workplace and Postsecondary Education. New Directions for Institutional Research, 110, Summer 2001.

Ivy Tech Community College General Education Goals, 2007

Ivy Tech Community College Strategic Plan 2010

National Science Education Standards, 1996

ACT: Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP)

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