Thursday, August 29, 2013

Scholarship In a Hurry

Here's an excellent essay calling for more public scholarship, the kind produced in a (relative) hurry to demonstrate (in part) the importance of such work given budget realities and (in part) to engage new audiences. You can read it yourself rather than have me regurgitate it for you. Plus there are fewer parentheses.

I strongly support this approach, of course, as I've been scribbling this blog for years. It's a modest effort, I admit. I'm no Nate Silver. This is no Monkeycage. My analytics, well, let's not go there.

But I do believe we're seeing a potential Golden Age of the blurring of journalism and academe, or at least of social science. Silver's 538 blog is one example, but all the computer-assisted reporting and data-driven journalism out there supports this thesis. Scholars must make their work more accessible and relevant. It cuts against the grain of many because, frankly, they can't write their way out of a grease-soaked paper bag. As a researcher myself I understand how easy it is to get bogged down in nuance and detail because good, carefully constructed studies are just that, nuance and detail.

Just rmember, methodological rigor in your research does not mean you can't explain it to the guy next door. It's not easy, but given the times it's damned necessary.

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