least one high quality academic source H u m a n i t i e s
Students will begin by finding a quote or a statement in the popular media that makes a claim that the student suspects is either misrepresentation of science or pseudoscience. The claim can come from publications or media of entertainment, politics, news, lifestyle, health, environment, business, advertising, etc. Then, students will research the science behind the claim using at least one high quality academic source to explain the correct information, although more may be necessary to fully explain the claim. The student will provide a detailed analysis of the claim using the facts of the academic source to explain why it misrepresents what the actual science says, or why it’s a pseudoscientific claim. Students should use key concepts from the course material whenever possible to support their analysis.
For example, earlier in the term, I mentioned how a member of the House of Representatives (congressman) Todd Akin said during an interview regarding why he doesn’t view abortion necessary in the case of rape that, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
With a quick look into the science of conception, one can quickly debunk this quote by explaining that conception only requires a sperm to fertilize an egg, and then the egg embeds if the uterus is in a fertile state. But even if you thought that rape doesn’t lead to conception as often as normal consensual sex, it turns out that it’s not the case at all, and that pregnancy occurs at the same rate in both situations.
Students should approach other claims they have encountered with the same academic rigor. Provide enough context and academic research to explain why it’s slightly incorrect, misleading, or entirely false.
- Introduction: Begin with an attention getting opener before stating the name and topic. Then announce the student name and topic of presentation. Discuss why the student had an interest in this topic and what sparked their curiosity. Give the audience a reason to be interested in this topic as well (goodwill statement). Present a clear thesis for the presentation; what this presentation will do or what the audience will take away from the presentation. A thesis statement should fill in the blank of “This presentation will…” without directly saying it as such. Transition to the main body of the presentation.
- Present the claim: Start by presenting the claim in a direct quote from the source (providing citations). Provide context for the claim by discussing the nature of the publication/media and the perception of the intention behind the claim. For what purpose is the claim made? What is it intended to do and what ideas is it intended to support?
- Background Research: Provide any and all background research gathered to contradict or support the ideas for the claim. As with any argument, it can be useful to bring up opposing points and then address them with your own counterpoint supported by evidence. Provide images, data tables, or any other visual representation of the science that is relevant to your discussion. One visual source must be included. Mention your sources using oral citations, but be sure to cite your sources on the slides, as well as a proper APA reference slide at the end of the presentation.
- After the scientific information has been presented objectively, make a clear argument detailing why the claim is slightly incorrect, misleading, or entirely false using scientific explanations or data. Discuss why it may be important to get the science right for this particular claim. It may be helpful to understand the potential impact to individuals, or society at large, that may result from people believing this claim that lacks scientific merit.
- Transition to the conclusion of the presentation without saying “in conclusion”. Briefly summarize the main points of the presentation (think of one sentence per previous slide to summarize it). Provide a definitive closing statement that is both intriguing and also suggests to the audience that the presentation has ended.
Timing of presentation
Presentations will be 4-5 minutes in length. Presentations that run less than 4 minutes and more than 5