The Use of Archived Astronomical Images as a Vehicle for
Introducing Scientific Methodology to Non-Scientists
A serious problem facing contemporary American society is the lack of understanding of science and the scientific method. We repeatedly see an inability to critically evaluate technical information with subsequent credulity in the face of politically-motivated arguments that sound scientific, but which are not. The best way to learn about science and its methods and errors is by actually participating in scientific studies. We describe hands-on protocols in which observations of binary stars can be employed as a vehicle by which individuals are led through the entire process of an observational science project. Our goal is first to enable a better informed citizenry
that can grasp scientific endeavors and associated uncertainties, and second, to stimulate youth to consider technical careers. The methodology we describe is adaptable to a variety of educational venues.