Tag: Research (home)

Eat like a bird and poop like an elephant. (In other words, glean from many sources and produce something substantial).

permalink source: supposedly a japanse proverb
tags: Personal Growth, Research

A survey tells you what people think they ought to say when a stranger knocks on the door and begins asking suspicious questions.

permalink source: sociologist John Shelton Reed
tags: Honesty, Research

I would not have arrived at the notion of relection-impulsivity if I had not recorded the latency to each grouping. Investigators should record as many variables as they can, even those that at the time seem only marginally relevant.... This experience taught me to trust evidence as if it were a slag heap with a pearl of extreme beauty hidden within it. The task is to find it.

permalink source: Jerome Kagan, An Argument for Mind, 62
tags: Science, Research

I have always used a few lines from Darwin as a personal mantra: "I have steadily endeavored to keep my mind free so as to give up any hypothesis, however much beloved... as soon as facts are seen to be opposed to it..... I can't remember a single first formed hypothesis which had not after a time to be given up or greatly modified. This has naturally led me to distrust greatly deductive reasoning in the mixed sciences." Psychology is a young discipline, and immature fields advance more quickly by relying on inferences from observations, many unexpected, than by trying to prove deductions from a priori conceptions. [The Darwin quote is from his Notebooks, cited in H.E. Gruber, <i>Darwin on Man</i> (1974), 400.]

permalink source: Jerome Kagan, An Argument for Mind, 75-76
tags: Logic, Psychology, Research

Why Research Is Better Than Homework

One of the nice things about being a professor is that you can specialize in those things you are best at, and you can find collaborators that compensate for your weaknesses. In other words, being a professor is a lot easier than being a student.

permalink source: Greg Mankiw, http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2007/03/my-life-as-student.html
tags: College, Research

Why College Courses Are So Esoteric

The particular courses offered in colleges and universities often also reflect the professors' convenience more so than the students' educational needs. For example, a history department may offer a course on the history of motion pictures or the history of wine-making, while not offering a course on the history of the Roman Empire or the history of medieval Europe, even though these broader courses would offer much more insight into the way Western civilization has developed and the way our world today has evolved. Because professors must do research in order to advance their careers, beginning with their doctoral dissertations, they must narrow their focus to something that has not been written about in great depth before. Then, having done original research or having made original analyses on such subjects as the history of motion pictures or the history of wine-making, a professor would find it much easier to teach a course on such a narrow subject than to do the vast amount of research required to teach a course on a subject as broad as the history of the Roman Empire or of medieval Europe--research unlikely to have any publication pay-off, since both subjects have already been widely researched and written about by others for generations. On many campuses, including some of the most prestigious, the disappearance of a meaningful curriculum, geared to the educational development of students, rather than to the convenience of career-advancement of professors, is a consequence of a proliferation of courses in narrow subjects. There may be a curriculum listed in the college catalogue but it can mean little if there are many disparate options for meeting a particular educational requirement--if, for example, a course on the history of motion pictures can be used to satisfy a social science requirement instead of a course on leading nations or empires of the world. Thus a student may graduate from some of the most prestigious colleges in the country fundamentally ignorant of history and all the insights and implications of history.

permalink source: Thomas Sowell, Economic Facts and Fallacies, pp 92-93
tags: College, Research