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Inquiry, Research, Exp, Method 1/2

SCI 387/388

Inquiry, Research, Exp, Method 1/2

  • Course ID:SCI 387/388
  • Semesters:2
  • Department:Science
  • Teachers:Dan Sushinsky

Description and Objectives

So often in today’s society, we are bombarded with information everywhere we go. If someone has a certain theory, they can be sure to find news, statistics, and websites to reaffirm their position. When we think about a hypothesis, it should be either correct or incorrect, but not both. The object of this class is to turn students into better thinkers, better researchers, and better debaters, with the crucial ability to sort through a bombardment of information and determine which information is reliable and which is not; then to convey that information in a straightforward and convincing manner.


There is no primary textbook for this class. Although I will give some handouts and assign a few chapters from books, most of our information will be researched, so each student may have different sources than other students.

Outline of Topics Covered:

Here is a potential list of topics that will be included. This is not exhaustive, and new and pressing debates may present themselves at any time. 


Do humans cause climate change? If so, is it reversible?

Are electric vehicles worse for the environment than cars that run on gasoline?

Is fracking worse than traditional drilling for oil?

How does the placebo effect work?

Are lie detectors reliable?

Is there a scientific explanation to the mysterious phenomena of the tilma from Guadalupe?

Does acupuncture heal the body?

How many genders could there be?

Does AI cause more solutions or more problems?

Are near death experiences scientifically explainable?

What is going on in Taos, NM?

What is the purpose of dreams?

Can cryonics work?

Does hypnotism create an altered state of mind?

Is there a missing link, and might it be found?

Do cold showers make you healthier?

How might we explain the double slit experiment?

Are soundwaves waves?

Is déjà vu scientifically explainable?

Was there really a star of Bethlehem?

How did they build that Loretto staircase in New Mexico?

Is the shroud of Turin a fake?

Is there such a thing as old man strength?

Does a higher minimum wage cause inflation to rise?

Do higher taxes discourage innovation?

Course Requirements

Students are expected to bring their notebook and homework to every class. Tests will happen after one or two weeks of researching, presenting, and debating. The test format will require students to list a number of true facts that they know about the topic and where those facts were found. They will also have a long essay in which they defend their position on the topic, and there will be a secondary essay where they explain why the opposing side’s evidence is either misleading, unreliable, or false. The test grade will be based both on the logic of the argument as well as the amount of evidence presented. 

70% of each student’s grade will be the average of his tests. The other 30% will be based on class participation, debates, and projects. 

Successful Students

  • Ask questions in class
  • Research exhaustively and document their findings
  • Present their findings clearly and concisely
  • Reflect often on why there are smart people on both sides of disagreements 
  • Keep all handouts in a folder that they can review at any time necessary