Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date



The teaching of science to undergraduates aligns poorly with the practice of science, leading many students to conclude that research is boring and researchers themselves are antisocial geniuses. Creativity, a key driver of scientific progress, is underemphasized or ignored altogether in many classrooms, as teaching focuses on the complex integrated concepts and voluminous amounts of information typical of STEM curricula. Faculty, largely untrained in science education per se, teach largely as they were taught, through lectures based in textbooks. This situation could change, and students' understanding of research practice could be fostered relatively easily, if faculty began teaching classes focused on the journal articles they read in their professional lives. In this essay, I outline a novel scaffolded approach to guiding students in a) deciphering the complexities of scientific literature and b) the process of gaining new understanding of who scientists are, what they do, how they do it, and why.


This work was originally published in Daedalus, available at

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For a full description of the license, please visit



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.