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NSW Syllabuses

Investigating Science Stage 6 - Year 12 - Module 8: Science and Society Module 8: Science and Society


A student:

  • INS11/12-5

    analyses and evaluates primary and secondary data and information

  • INS11/12-6

    solves scientific problems using primary and secondary data, critical thinking skills and scientific processes

  • INS11/12-7

    communicates scientific understanding using suitable language and terminology for a specific audience or purpose

  • INS12-15

    evaluates the implications of ethical, social, economic and political influences on science

Related Life Skills outcomes: SCLS6-5, SCLS6-6, SCLS6-7, SCLS6-14, SCLS6-15

Content Focus

Those who pursue the study of science have created processes, tools and products that challenge and influence society and some of its belief systems, ethics and societal norms. In response, society debates and regulates science in order to prevent harmful developments and unacceptable outcomes, and to allow for new and beneficial products, processes and ideas. Science also can be affected by society, as well as governments, industry, economic interests and cultural perspectives.

Students explore the impacts of ethical, social, economic and political influences on science and its research.

Working Scientifically

In this module, students focus on analysing and evaluating primary and secondary data to solve problems and communicate scientific understanding about the position and application of science in society. Students should be provided with opportunities to engage with all Working Scientifically skills throughout the course.


  • Incidents, Events and Science

  • Inquiry question: How do science-related events affect society’s view of science?
  • Students:
  • investigate case studies of past events to consider how they have affected the public image of science, including but not limited to: ccteuictl
  • meltdowns of nuclear reactors
  • development of the smallpox vaccine
  • development of flight
  • positive and negative aspects of damming rivers
  • Regulation of Scientific Research

  • Inquiry question: Why is scientific research regulated?
  • Students:
  • investigate the need for the regulation of scientific research in, for example: ahcaseiu
  • investigate and assess ethical issues surrounding current scientific research in, for example: ahcseccteuictiudd
  • use of radiation
  • pharmaceutical research
  • gene manipulation in biotechnology
  • mining practices
  • bioprospecting
  • investigate a range of international scientific codes of conduct in regard to scientific research and practice in the areas of, for example: ccteupscdd
  • cloning
  • stem cell research
  • surrogacy
  • genetically modified foods
  • transplantation of organs
  • evaluate the effectiveness of international regulation in scientific research and practice
  • Influence of Economic, Social and Political Forces on Scientific Research

  • Inquiry question: How do economic, social and political influences affect scientific research?
  • Students:
  • evaluate the costs involved in space exploration compared to investments in social issues, for example poverty and human global food supply ccteu
  • evaluate how scientific research aids economic development and human progress in relation to, for example: accteuict
  • nuclear power generation
  • use of antimicrobial drugs
  • genetically modified foods
  • use of petroleum products
  • robotics and the use of drones
  • evaluate the impacts of scientific research, devices and applications on world health and human wellbeing, including but not limited to: ccteu
  • medical surgical devices
  • surgical procedures
  • water purification and wastewater treatment
  • vaccination programs for the eradication of disease
  • using examples, analyse the impacts that governments and large corporations have on scientific research, including but not limited to: seccteuictiu
  • corporations and market opportunities
  • university research project budgets
  • governmental budgets and limited time priorities
  • benefit-sharing in research using Indigenous intellectual and cultural property
  • evaluate how personal, cultural and socioeconomic perspectives can influence the direction of scientific research, for example: ahcseictiu
  • perceptions about diet in a multicultural society
  • investigating traditional medical treatments
  • mining practices