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The Geoscientific Method

The course examines the historical and philosophical underpinnings of geosciences.


We use a historical framework to explore the components and the evolution of modern scientific method. We want to understand how scientific hypotheses are formulated and tested and how scientific data are reviewed, interpreted and presented. The goal is to think about thinking in order to organize, be aware of and challenge our own methodologies of science and analysis.

Course period Autumn 2021: Monday August 30–Wednesday September 29 (incorrect study period in the right column).

Please order the book now if you are planning to take the course.

Autumn term 21 | The course will be given on campus. But this information could be updated before the start of the course depending on the situation at that time.

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.

    The schedule was updated on June 18 2020.

  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Science Rules: A Historical Introduction to Scientific Methods
    Peter Achinstein, editor
    published by Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004
    paperback ISBN 0-8018-7944-2

    Revolutions in the Earth: James Hutton and the True Age of the World
    by Stephen Baxter
    Phoenix; New Ed edition (5 Feb 2004)
    Paperback ISBN: 0753817616

    Capital of the Mind: How Edinburgh Changed the World
    James Buchan
    John Murray Publishers Ltd; New edition edition (16 Aug 2004)
    paperback ISBN 0719565448

    The Scottish Enlightenment: The Scots' Invention of the Modern World
    Arthur Herman
    Fourth Estate Ltd; New edition edition (2 Jan 2003)
    paperback ISBN 1841152765

  • Course reports

    Course evaluations allow the possibility to affect and take responsibility for your own learning and gives important information for our work with pedagogical development.

    It's important that all students complete the course evaluations after each course, it gives the Department the opportunity to improve the courses' quality.

    The course evaluation is composed of a number of questions and specific questions for each course. If you, as a student, want to contribute with more course specific questions you may send them to

    If you haven't received the course evaluation for your finished course, or if you have other questions regarding course evaluations at IGV please contact

    Course evaluation = student's review of the course
    Course report = course leader's reflections about the review

  • Contact

    Alasdair SkeltonProfessor of Geochemistry and petrology
    Alasdair Skelton
    +46 (0)76 770 76 99 | Room: R425