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University of Toronto Press - Spring/Summer 2020

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Being a Scientist
Tools for Science Students
By (author): Michael H. Schmidt
9781487588441 Paperback, Trade English Higher Education SCIENCE / Research & Methodology Nov 19, 2019
$38.95 CAD
Active 6.06 x 9 x 0.65 in | 450 gr 320 pages University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division

Being a Scientist is a comprehensive introduction to the many aspects of scientific life beyond the classroom and laboratory. Written with undergraduate science majors in mind, the book covers ethics, the philosophical bases of scientific methods, library research, reading, peer review, creativity, proposal and paper writing, and oral and poster presentations.

In contrast to other texts in the field, which often take a simple prescriptive approach to these topics, Being a Scientist connects them to the historical and philosophical roots of modern science, as well as the common experiences of all people.

Written in a conversational style, the book makes use of metaphor, historical anecdote, and hypothetical research about everyday household questions. This approach helps undergraduates learn basic research skills without being too intimidated by the advanced concepts, vocabulary, and methods which are encountered in looking at the current scientific literature.

Being a Scientist is a textbook for a semester-long course devoted to teaching research and communication skills to undergraduate science majors, but it can be adapted for use in summer research experiences, capstone research courses, and other courses throughout the undergraduate curriculum.

Michael H. Schmidt is a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at California State University, San Marcos.

"Being a Scientist is wide in its scope, covering such topics as research ethics to scientific writing. Written with a more personable style, this book will help research trainees, and will be an excellent single resource for students."

- Pasan Fernando, Department of Biology, Carleton University

"Science faculty are not trained to teach writing, and that is a skill that needs to be developed if one is to teach such a course. Many science faculty feel that it is not possible to grade writing fairly or consistently. Furthermore, there is still an unfortunate attitude among some faculty that students should learn these skills by osmosis. Thus, the challenges are both in having faculty with the skills to teach such courses and overcoming the belief that such courses are not necessary. Being a Scientist addresses both issues. The discussion of overcoming doubts is excellent. Second, having rubrics, discussion guides, and explicit learning objectives at hand will be very useful for students in most science fields."

- Penny J. Beuning, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Northeastern University

"I’ve been arguing with Being a Scientist – and that’s exactly what I suggest readers should do. It’s even what Schmidt suggests (implicitly) readers should do, by including ‘skepticism’ in his treatment of scientific ethos. As Schmidt points out in his Introduction, few questions around how science is or should be done have clean and simple answers. Being a Scientist should start conversations – mentor with mentee, or labmate with labmate. I would have learned a lot from discussing this book early in my career. I learned some things reading it even now."

- Stephen Heard, Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick

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