Skills to makea scientist

12th January 1996 at 00:00
What are "scientific capabilities"? Working scientists have trouble distinguishing them from more general skills, such as commitment, numeracy, communication, working in teams and forging good relationships.

But when pressed by the National Council for Vocational Qualifications, they came up with the following, many of which apply to all sorts of other fields of work:

* practical capabilities, including safety, reliability, good observation and accuracy;

* problem solving by experimentation;

* decision-making by weighing evidence (a skill which helps them move into other jobs);

* scientific "habits of mind", such as scepticism, logical thinking and considering all options;

* understanding of important scientific and mathematical ideas.

Michael Coles, the NCVQ science adviser, told a session at the ASE that the scientists did not really mind which scientific ideas fledgling boffins understood. Mr Coles was able to tell the meeting: "Nobody I have interviewed has complained about the level of knowledge of students leaving universities. "

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today