Science in Context

Subject SCIE90004 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 2, Parkville - 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: 36 hours comprising 3 hours of lectures and group discussion/seminars per week.
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s programs. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their active and safe participation in a subject are encouraged to discuss this with the relevant subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Dr Shanton Chang


Subject Overview:

As a Scientist, one of the main challenges is to communicate scientific knowledge to the wider community. Whether the issues are big or small, communicating complex scientific knowledge needs to be ‘context relevant’. Increasingly, scientific knowledge also has to be communicated in a global and cross-cultural environment. This subject aims to equip you with some of the skills that you will need to analyse cross cultural contexts and communicate scientific and technical knowledge effectively across a wide range of sectors and communities.


This subject explores how scientific knowledge is perceived by a diverse audience, including the media, corporations, governments and across cultures. Topics include the place and perception of the sciences across cultures, communicating scientific knowledge successfully and intercultural communication. At the completion of the subject, students should:

  • understand how different non-science sectors work and how they view scientific knowledge;
  • understand the relationship between science and cultures;
  • be familiar with some techniques of contextual analysis;
  • have explored the process of communicating with diverse audiences appropriately;
  • understand the range of actions that can be taken to facilitate successful scientific knowledge communication across different contexts.

  • Seminar discussion and participation (10%);
  • two individual reports (500 words each) (2 X 10%) Due in Week 6 and 10 respectively;
  • one group report (2000 words) (20%), due in week 11 and/or 12, and 1 group presentation of up to 30 minutes based on group report (30%);
  • end-of-semester submission (2500 - 3000 words) (40%).
Prescribed Texts:

Note that there are no textbooks in this subject. Required readings are in the Subject Reading Pack available from the Bookroom. Supplementary readings may be suggested in class.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students should acquire a range of generic skills. They should:

• enhance their ability to formulate and articulate rational argument through seminar and online discussions

• develop further their abilities to engage critically with lecture material and the subject literature

• improve their time management skills by planning and delivering assignments as required

• learn to apply theory to practice in seminar discussions and assessable tasks

• improve their cross-cultural analytical skills - specifically the adoption of appropriate frameworks for problem identification, information handling, communication and critical thinking through engagement with case studies

Related Course(s): Master of Science (Biotechnology)
Master of Science (Botany)
Master of Science (Chemistry)
Master of Science (Earth Sciences)
Master of Science (Environmental Science)
Master of Science (Epidemiology)
Master of Science (Geography)
Master of Science (Information Systems)
Master of Science (Management Science)
Master of Science (Mathematics and Statistics)
Master of Science (Physics)
Master of Science (Zoology)

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