SCOM2003 projects about science, fiction and the public

Each year undergraduate students in SCOM2003 Science in Popular Fiction must complete a focus group-based research project.

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Each year undergraduate students in SCOM2003 Science in Popular Fiction must complete a focus group-based research project, but between 2010 and 2014 they could choose between completing it solo purely for assessment, or in a group for both assessment and an attempt at publication in an academic journal.

Topics for the group version included:

  • public responses to science in 'Lisa the Skeptic', a 1997 episode of animated TV series The Simpsons, which was published as a journal paper in 2012 in the International Journal of Science Education Part B: Communication and Public Engagement.
  • the influence of viewer experience on perceptions of science in an episode of forensic drama Bones
  • the use of medical drama House for identifying people's preferences regarding medical practitioners
  • female scientist characters on television as role models for women in science; case study the forensic scientist Abby in crime drama NCIS.
  • World War Z as a tool for communicating about infectious diseases and disease management.

For more information see the SCOM2003 entry on the Programs and Courses website or contact the SCOM2003 convenor, Dr Lindy Orthia.


Principal investigator

Senior Lecturer