Name
Five Virtues of a Good Hypothesis (work in progress)
Topic
Developing analytical skills around scientific methodology
Learning time
Designed time
5 hours and 30 minutes
Size of class
1-n (online unpaced individual study with group work)
Description
The five virtues of a good hypothesis from Chapter VI of Web of Belief by W.O. Quine and J.S. Ullian are examined, applied, and evaluated in a week-long project.
Aims
To introduce five criteria for evaluating a hypothesis
Outcomes
Comprehension, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation
Editor
maryp
The Five Virtues of a Good Hypothesis
60 minutes)
  • Read Watch Listen
    60
    1
    1
    Carefully read Chapter VI of Web of Belief by W.O. Quine and J.S. Ullian. Go back and reread any parts that you do not understand. Write down any remaining questions that you have about the reading.
  • Discuss
    0
    Write a definition in your own words of each virtue, and post to the discussion forum. Which ones seem similar? How can you differentiate between them? Which ones are easily differentiated from the others? What was difficult to understand? After you have posted your response, read the responses of your peers. Comment on at least one peer posting. How was your understanding of the virtues different? Similar?
Notes:
If using an LMS such as Moodle, set the forum to hide other learners' responses until the learner has posted one (Q&A type forum in Moodle).
Resources linked: 0
Examples of the Virtues
60 minutes)
  • Produce
    60
    1
    0
    Invent or find examples of each of the five virtues that illustrate their significance. For example, if you are at home and you can't find your keys, why might the hypothesis that you misplaced them be more simple than the hypothesis that a stranger walked into your house without your knowledge and took them? Why might bacteria be a more refutable cause of illness than unfriendly magic? You can take examples from your own experience, your imagination, stories, movies, or scientific accounts.
Notes:
Have learners submit this as an assessment to check their understanding of the concepts.
Resources linked: 0
Analyzing a Hypothesis
60 minutes)
  • Collaborate
    60
    5
    0
    Given a description of a hypothesis, work in a group of 3-5 to do an analysis of it in terms of the five virtues. Begin by deciding on a fair division of labour and a timeline with milestones for each member to meet. If there are five in your group, a natural division is one virtue each. In any case, you will need to communicate with other group members on a regular basis. Your group will submit one analysis paper. Jobs such as collecting and integrating all contributions, formatting, editing, and proofreading will need to be assigned also. You may have to do some background research. Be sure to list and cite all information sources used. In addition to the group analysis, each participant will submit a short reflection on their own contribution and the process in general. What did you add to the mix? What went well? What would you do differently next time? What did you learn about working with others?
Notes:
If using an LMS such as Moodle, use the signup sheet or similar tool to help learners form groups.
Resources linked: 0
Creating a Hypothesis
60 minutes)
  • Produce
    60
    1
    0
    Think about something in your own experience for which you have a testable explanation, e.g., Why does your cat refuse to go out when it is below -15 C outside? Why does your neigbour always shovel the snow from your sidewalk for you? Invent a hypothesis that displays all five virtues, and explain how it does so for each one. Consider also any possible alternative hypotheses and why you rejected them. You may have to do some background research. Be sure to list and cite all information sources used. You are encouraged to share your paper with any classmate(s) willing to review it before you write the final draft. And of course, you are encouraged to return the favour. Be sure to acknowledge any substantive peer contribution.
Notes:
Resources linked: 0
Evaluating the Criteria for a Good Hypothesis
90 minutes)
  • Investigate
    90
    1
    0
    Do some online research to find what others have said about a good hypothesis. Look for any critiques of Quine and Ullian's criteria. Write a paper or create a short video to present your findings. Your presentation must include an evaluation of the five virtues as criteria for a good hypothesis. How well do they work? How difficult are they to apply? Do they need to be adjusted/replaced? How? With what? Be sure to list and cite all information sources used, and acknowledge any contributions from peers.
Notes:
Maybe change to have learners evaluate each others' hypotheses . . .
Resources linked: 0

Learning Experience

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