What is an Evidence-Focused Seminar?

While almost all courses offered at Emory involve evidence, evidence-focused first-year seminars offer a unique opportunity to learn about the important role evidence plays in academic study. In an evidence-focused seminar, you will learn about the nature of evidence, the role of evidence, and what counts as evidence related to the course topic.

Why learn about evidence? Studying evidence will help you produce new knowledge through research and study, be a smart consumer of knowledge in this technological age, make informed decisions based on evidence, and understand other people in a diverse global community.

What are evidence-focused first-year seminars like?

From Students who Took an Evidence-Focused Seminar:

"Although I had done research before, it wasn't until this class that I was actually entrusted to be the driver behind the research itself and the direction the analysis would take. In an evidence based-seminar, you are treated like an adult who has the ability to understand and is a nice break from high-school."

- Student in the Class of 2019
The American Death Penalty Seminar
Department of History

"The focus on evidence naturally directed the class lectures and assignments to present concrete data for us to interpret, which developed our analytical skills. Through presentations and papers, we researched using scholarly sources, which helped introduce me to resources in the Woodruff Library such as books in Stacks and online databases. Most notably, we were able to collect our own data, imitating field research, and then we wrote papers substantiating claims using our collected data. By teaching us to analyze, look for, and even collect our own evidence, the evidence-focused seminar truly broadened my understanding evidence."

- Student in the Class of 2019
Languages of the World Seminar
Department of Linguistics

"Dr. Pak taught us that identifying evidence is about clearly seeing what is put in front of us—not to overstep our bounds with an assuming imagination or an underestimating apathy. It is about diligently engaging the raw reality of what we know and what we are given. It is about recognizing and bringing out the truth behind what is there and what is not."

- Student in the Class of 2019
Languages of the World Seminar
Department of Linguistics

Are these seminars harder than other seminars?

No! These seminars are not harder than other seminars, nor do they require more work.

These seminars share a specific focus on evidence; this focus will help you build foundational skills that you can use for the rest of your time at Emory. A meaningful engagement with evidence will help prepare you for courses in your major, research opportunities, and even future employment.

Why should I take an evidence-focused seminar?

From Students:

Such a seminar will challenge you to think critically in an academic setting, thus allowing you to become a more effective communicator, researcher, and student. The skills you gain will have a long-term, positive effect on how you approach your future classes and conversations.

- Student in the Class of 2019
Languages of the World with
Dr. Marjorie Pak

When you actually look at evidence, especially primary sources, you get so much more value and understanding of a subject. Drawing your own conclusions, and critically engaging with others, is a much deeper and more interesting mode of scholarship for me. 

- Student in the Class of 2019
The American Death Penalty with
Dr. Daniel LaChance

Evidence acts as the backbone for every discipline and is extremely applicable in my everyday life. I believe that I am a better and more confident student when I tie evidence into my discussions. Whether I am studying for psychobiology test or giving a presentation in the business school, evidence ties my ideas together.

- Danielle Tanzman, 18B

Understanding how to interpret and present evidence has proved extremely useful both inside and outside of the classroom. Not only has the knowledge of how to effectively support certain claims helped me tackle research papers and conduct other projects, it has made me a smarter consumer of information. I have developed critical skills that help me form educated opinions about a wide range of topics from academia to popular culture. This, in turn, has allowed me engage in more productive discussions with peers and professors alike.

- Glory James, 17C

There is a lot of information out there being thrown at us all the time. It tries to tell us what to buy, how to think, what to say, what to do and ultimately who to be. Without knowing what evidence is and how it’s used, it’s easy to find yourself passively being shaped rather than actively in the process of shaping. That process of shaping extends beyond you and your life to impact your communities as well.

- DeVonnae’ Woodson-Heard, 16C

2017-2018 Evidence-Focused Seminars

Fall 2017 Evidence-Focused First-Year Seminars

Department Title of Seminar Instructor
Ancient Mediterranean Studies Exploring the Ancient Mediterranean in the Carlos Museum Patterson, Cynthia
Anthropology The Past, Present, and Future of Food and Population Hadley, Craig
Art History The 12 Caesars: Sex, Lies and Politics in Ancient Rome Varner, Eric
Biology Biology of Elite Sport Cafferty, Patrick
Chemistry Are We Alone in the Universe? Widicus Weaver, Susanna
Comparative Literature The Philosophical Animal Meighoo, Sean
Dance Contemplate, Create, Debate Staib, George
Environmental Studies/NBB How to Interpret Behavior You Did Not See Martin, Anthony
Film and Media Studies Hitchcock/Hitcockian Schreiber, Michele
German Great German Books in Translation Hoeyng, Peter
Human Health Exercise, Sport, and Health Welkley, Jill
Music Music and Film Bhasin, Paul
Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology The Neuroscience of Health Behavior Easterling, Keith
Physics Energy Berland, Keith
Psychology The Nature of Evidence Waldman, Irwin
Religion Buddhist Women through the Ages McClintock, Sara
Theater Studies Acting Fundamentals Paulsen, Lisa
Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Gender, Science, and Technological Bodies Roy, Deboleena

Spring 2018 Evidence-Focused First-Year Seminars

Department Seminar Title Instructor
Comparative Literature Atlanta: Hispanic Architecture Carrion, Maria
Dance Connecting the Mind to the Moving Body Radell, Sally
English The Evidence of a Poem Kalaidjian, Walter
English Major Authors in American Environmental Literature Ladd, Barbara
History France: Fake News and Conspiracies Miller, Judith
Linguistics Reading Multilingual Atlanta Li, Yu; Maxim, Hiram
Philosophy What is Freedom? Huseyinzadegan, Dilek
Political Science Know Your Rights Davis, David
Psychology How Do We Know What We Know About Parenting? Goodman, Sherryl
Psychology Neurobiology of Sex Differencs Maney, Donna
Religion Everyday Religion, Storytelling, and Ritual Flueckiger, Joyce
Sociology Race, Gender, Inequality: Evidence? Browne, Irene
Sociology Advertising: The Magic System Franzosi, Roberto
Sociology Schools and Society Puckett, Cassidy

See more detail about these seminars on Emory's Course Atlas

2016-2017 Evidence-Focused Seminars

Fall 2016 Evidence-Focused First-Year Seminars

Department Title of Seminar Instructor
African American Studies WEB Du Bois and the Black Middle Class Wallace-Sanders, Kimberly
American Studies / Film & Media Studies Social Movements and the Media Loudermilk, Kim
Ancient Mediterranean Studies Exploring the Ancient Mediterranean in the Carlos Museum Patterson, Cynthia
Anthropology / African Studies The Politics of Humanitarianism in Africa Phillips, Kristin
Art History / Classics The 12 Caesars: Sex, Lies and Politics in Ancient Rome Varner, Eric
Biology Disease Detectives: on the role of infectious diseases throughout history Antia, Rustom
Chemistry How Do We Know That? Mulford, Douglas
Economics The Economics of Crime Allison, Blake
Economics The Economics of Sports DePasquale, Christina
English Folios, Fakes, and Fantasies:  Locating the Real Shakespeare Cahill, Patricia
Environmental Studies / NBB How to Interpret Behavior that You Did Not See Martin, Anthony
Human Health Move: A Prescription for Health Welkley, Jill
Interdisciplinary Studies The Art of IDEAS: More than meets the eye Lynn, David; Taylor, Leslie
Interdisciplinary Studies Connected Lynn, David; Taylor, Leslie
Italian At the Table: Sustainable food and Culture of Italy Muratore, Simona
Japanese Emory in East Asia Crowley, Cheryl
Jewish Studies / Religion Suffering, Healing and the Evidence of Experience Seeman, Don
Music Music and Film Bhasin, Paul
Neuroscience & Behavioral Biology The Neuroscience of Health Behavior Easterling, Keith
Philosophy Art and Truth? Lysaker, John
Physics Energy Berland, Keith
Political Science The Pacific War Reiter, Dan
Political Science India: Challenges and Opportunities Semetko, Holli
Portuguese / African Studies From Rio de Janeiro to Luanda: Urban Landscapes & National Identity in the Portuguese speaking world. Teixeira, Ana
Psychology The Nature of Evidence Waldman, Irwin
Religion Pilgramage and Tourism Geslani, Marko
Russian The Mad Russian Apkarian, Juliette
Sociology Racial Violence in America Franzosi, Roberto
Theater Adapting Theater from the Social Sciences Murphy, Vincent

Spring 2017 Evidence-Focused First-Year Seminars

Department Seminar Title Instructor
Anthropology The Archaeology of Us Nilsson Stutz, Liz
Anthropology Understanding Human Origins Thompson, Jessica
Art History Uncovering Visual Evidence in the Museum Stone, Rebecca
Art History Gods, Heroes, and Villains in Ancient Greek Art Wescoat, Bonna
Biology / NBB Evolution: Concepts and Misconceptions  Marsteller, Pat
Chemistry Are we alone in the universe? Widicus Weaver, Susanna
English Sleep Across the Disciplines Reiss, Benjamin
French/African Studies Paris: city of lights or darkness? The politics of Race in 20th-21st century Paris Xavier, Subha
History Charts, Maps, and Graphs Ravina, Mark
Human Health Health and the Natural World Quave, Cassandra
Jewish Studies Mobility, Maturation and Modernity in Jewish Literature Udel, Miriam
Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies Language and Power in Iran Samei, Hossein
Religion Evidence in Religion and Science Laderman, Gary
Religion Violence, Nonviolence, and Religion: From India to Atlanta Gough, Ellen
Sociology Life After College: What's the Evidence about Work? Scott, Tracy
Spanish Latino US Dillman, Lisa
Theater Studies The First Folio and Performance Evenden, Michael

See more detail about these seminars on Emory's Course Atlas