A Response to “Responsible Research Practices,” Part 12: Highest Standards

highdiveThis is an installment in an ongoing series on the American Academy of Religion’s recently released draft statement on research responsibilities.
An index of the
complete series (updated as each
article is posted) can be found here.

The thirteenth and final item included in the draft document reads as follows:

higheststandardsAt this point in the series there’s not really all that much left to say. For in my reading, there’s too little  specificity to the document’s claims to assist us in decoding its technical terms. So I’d argue that advocating that we “adhere to the highest standards” can’t, by definition, be operationalized.

Or better put, it can be operationalized, but in far too many ways, many of which will no doubt be contradictory. Continue reading

A Response to “Responsible Research Practices,” Part 11: Research Assistants

researchassistantThis is an installment in an ongoing series on the American Academy of Religion’s recently released draft statement on research responsibilities.
An index of the
complete series (updated as each
article is posted) can be found here.

The second to the last item on the draft document is the only one that concerns our work with students — odd, if you think about it, since much of teaching concerns preparing them to be researchers themselves, so you’d think that a statement on research responsibilities would give some attention to our role mentoring the next generation of scholars. But, instead, the only attention to students reads as follows:

researchassistantsIf there’s been little to no explicit awareness of the loaded nature of terminology so far in the document, then there’s surely no reason to expect it to start now, given that we’ve reached its penultimate section. So we have little choice but to accept that the slippery term “collegiality” is used here as if it is self-evidently meaningful, making it yet another example of how the document fails to live up to the standards that (I would hope) many of us work to attain in our own research (e.g., clearly define your terms, recognize which are contested, identify your assumptions and mount a persuasive case for why you use the term as you do, etc.). Continue reading

Test-Taking Skills Do Not = An Education

Did you hear President Obama’s speech at the University of Buffalo the other day, on how to address increasing costs in higher education? Here’s the final paragraph from the response of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP):

Picture 1Read the AAUP’s whole statement here.