2019-2020 Catalog

CHEM 204 Introduction to Scientific Inquiry and Communication

In this course students will develop a sophisticated understanding of the nature and process of scientific inquiry and communication.  Students will hone the skills necessary to evaluate and utilize scientific information from both popular media and peer-reviewed journal sources.  Practice in reading primary scientific articles for comprehension, writing clearly about scientific topics for a broad audience, and delivering engaging scientific presentations will be a major focus of this course.  Connecting our scientific view of the nanoscale to the world we experience on the macroscale, students will gain perspective on how scientific knowledge is established and communicated to inform the actions we take as a society and in our personal lives. 

Students in this course will practice and learn:

  • To evaluate both primary and secondary articles about science critically and holistically, taking into account the full social and scientific context of the presented findings
  • To recognize the effect of the language used in scientific writing on the message that is conveyed
  • To access, dissect, and comprehend primary research articles with confidence, even in scientific subjects for which you may not have had formal coursework
  • To describe how society influences and is influenced by scientific reports and the chosen direction of scientific research
  • To communicate about science clearly and effectively through writing and presentations, with an emphasis on relevance and great sensitivity to audience understanding

This course also fulfills the Second-Stage Writing Proficiency requirement when passed with a C. This course should be completed by the end of the junior year. If students do not pass the course with a C, they will need to take WRD 201 (The Art of Essay Writing) and pass it with a C to fulfill their Second-Stage Writing Proficiency requirement.


4 units


Chemistry 100, 120, 130 or permission of the instructor

Core Requirements Met

  • Mathematics/Science