288 pages, 37 b/w illustrations, 3 tables
The fundamental principles of the scientific method are essential for enhancing perspective, increasing productivity, and stimulating innovation. These principles include deductive and inductive logic, probability, parsimony and hypothesis testing, as well as science's presuppositions, limitations, ethics and bold claims of rationality and truth. The examples and case studies drawn upon in Scientific Method in Brief span the physical, biological and social sciences; include applications in agriculture, engineering and medicine; and also explore science's interrelationships with disciplines in the humanities such as philosophy and law. Informed by position papers on science from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Academy of Sciences and National Science Foundation, Scientific Method in Brief aligns with a distinctively mainstream vision of science. It is an ideal resource for anyone undertaking a systematic study of scientific method for the first time, from undergraduates to professionals in both the sciences and the humanities.
Please note that the publisher has cancelled plans for a hardback version.
"A welcome, and well-informed, introduction for budding scientists to the general principles undergirding the rationality of science. The book draws powerful attention to the fact that future scientific advance itself depends on a proper understanding of scientific method."
– Roger Trigg, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Warwick, Senior Research Fellow, University of Oxford, and founding chair of the British Philosophical Association
"The mission of this wonderful book is to enhance both scientists' and nonscientists' appreciation of science [...] valuable for prospective and practising scientists. Excellent references and an index support the text. This reviewer wishes this book had been available when he was a student. Highly recommended."
– R. E. Buntrock, Choice
"[...] provides a truly invaluable contribution to acquaint readers with the general principles underlying the scientific method [...] Gauch's accessible writing and concern in clarifying and exemplifying the concepts presented make this a highly readable book, likely to be of interest to a wide range of readers (including those who have not been previously introduced to these issues). Given its unquestionable worth and usefulness in unveiling the details of the scientific method, I would definitely recommend this book to students, teachers, researchers and anyone committed to expanding their knowledge about science."
– Maria João Fonseca, Journal of Biological Education
"Scientific Method in Brief is well suited for use in undergraduate courses on scientific method or the nature of science. In fact, for the former sort of class, [this] is one of the best, if not the best, book[s] to use. Moreover, [it] would make a fruitful addition as a supplement to various other courses. For example, it could be implemented into introductory level philosophy of science courses as a way of providing a more in-depth look at scientific method. [It] could be used to supplement courses on critical thinking/informal logic as well [...] [It] is an excellent book to use in lower division undergraduate courses on scientific method, the nature of science, and many more. I highly recommend it."
– Kevin McCain, Teaching Philosophy
"There is a detailed table of contents, a thorough list of references, and a good index. This detailed explanation of scientific method is laid out so as to be useful as a text for educational courses. To this end, each chapter concludes with a summary and a set of study questions. However, the book is also a thorough and practical description of scientific philosophy and method, which will be useful to practitioners as well."
– David B. Henderson, Computing Reviews
Foreword James R. Miller
2. Four bold claims
3. A brief history of truth
4. Science's contested rationality
5. Science's presuppositions
6. Science's powers and limits
7. Deductive logic
9. Inductive logic and statistics
10. Parsimony and efficiency
11. Case studies
12. Ethics and responsibilities
13. Science education
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Hugh G. Gauch, Jr is a Senior Research Specialist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, New York. He teaches Cornell's course on scientific method and for the last four decades his research has focused on the statistical analysis of ecological and agricultural data. He is author of Scientific Method in Practice (2002), which is the basis for this more concise and student-focused text.