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Freshman Research Initiative-Scientific Inquiry Across the Disciplines (SIAD), formerly known as Research Methods, is a  signature course that some students take as part of their first semester in FRI. Participation in SIAD is not required for all FRI students, but if you are placed in SIAD, you should let the FRI office (friadmissions@utexas.edu) know if you do not plan to register.

SIAD is non-discipline specific in that each class may include students from many majors. Although specific content varies among instructors, we all strive to kindle a passion and facility for scientific inquiry and to help you develop skills for independent and intelligent experiment design, execution, analysis and presentation.

Typical course topics may include:

  • Critical thinking
  • The scientific method
  • Experiment design
  • Data acquisition and analysis
  • Optimization
  • Modeling
  • Signal processing
  • Presentation of results
  • Scientific literature
  • The research process
  • The scientific enterprise

Scientific Inquiry Across the Disciplines generally involves both lecture and lab times. You may be required to perform experiments on your own and/or in groups. Experiments are inquiry-based and will require independence, initiative, creativity, and thought. You will write scientific reports and may create an original research proposal.

Although Scientific Inquiry Across the Disciplines is designed to be the entrance to the FRI program and will prepare you for your time in a research lab, the course is also useful should you decide not to continue in FRI. Through the FRI Research Methods courses, you will develop an understanding of what scientists do, build critical thinking and logic skills to help you evaluate information, and learn what it is like to conduct research in the laboratory. This course can help you evaluate whether or not scientific research is a possible career path for you. After taking this course, you will be a more informed citizen who understands how science progresses, who knows how to find out more about a topic that interests you, and who can think critically about the world around you.

For more about Scientific Inquiry Across the Disciplines, see the Course Site.