Science and its Publics

Subject 136-545 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2008:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 2-hour seminar per week.
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Admission to a coursework Masters program in the Faculty of Arts.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Rosemary Robins
Subject Overview:

The subject will examine the complex relationship between science and its publics from historical, philosophical and sociological perspectives. Students will be asked to critically reflect on the role of science in society and examine how this may have changed over time. They will evaluate the need to promote the public understanding of science and to increase levels of 'scientific literacy' in today's society. Various analytical approaches to the public understanding of science will be examined. Students will be encouraged to develop a critical appraisal of the cognitive deficit model of the public understanding of science and examine the effectiveness or otherwise of methods that have been used to evaluate public attitudes to science and technology.

Assessment: One 1000 word paper 20% due during the first half of the semester. One 1000 word paper 20% due during the second half of the semester. One 3000 word essay 60% due during the examination period.
Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts:

A subject reader will be available for purchase from the University Book Shop.Irwin, A., and Michael, M., (2003) Science, Social Theory and Public Knowledge Open U.P., Berkshire, England

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • have developed research skills;
  • have developed critical thinking and analysis;
  • be able to think in theoretical terms;
  • be able to understand social, ethical and cultural contexts;
  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically;
  • have developed written communication skills;
  • have developed public speaking skills;
  • ave developed good time management and planning;
  • be able to work as a team.
Related Course(s): Master of Arts (Science, Communication and Society)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (History & Philosophy of Science)

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