Posted by: turtlebella | 20 September 2006


Interesting things I found on the website of the National Academy of Science…

  • Report on women in academic science and engineering (Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering 2006). Women are still under-represented at the rank of full professor, despite the fact that for the past 30 years women have represented 30% of PhDs in biological sciences. How to account for this? Attetion Larry Summers (and all those who vocally or silently believe the bastard): it’s not biological differences, and it’s not that men are better at math than women, it’s not that women are competitive enough or don’t want academic jobs, and it’s not that women are less productive, or that they value family life and family time more than men or that they take off more time than men due to childbearing (men take more sick leave so it balances out). So what is the problem? It’s that women face discrimination and inherent biases against women within academia. What a surprise (heavy with the sarcasm)! At all levels and aspects of academia. In the review process. In the recruitment and hiring process. At tenure and promotion. In receiving funding for their research. There’s also a NYTimes article about the report.
  • The number of uninsured Americans has increased. According to the US Census Bureau as of 2005 46.6 million people that have no health insurance, 8.3 million of those are children. The number is expected to keep rising. And less than 60% of people get their health insurance from their employer. How bad is this? Well, accoding to the Insitute of Medicine about 18,000 die prematurely every year because they haven’t got health insurance. How much do we need universal health care? Pretty damn badly! Aren’t we ashamed that the US is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not ensure that all citizens have coverage?


  1. ?Essay crafting guide
    Critical Evaluation
    Critical Evaluation
    The ability to critically evaluate detail can be an essential talent for postgraduate researchers. This ability is particularly pertinent to the production of literature reviews, where a critical appraisal or analysis within the literature is required.
    During this section, we suggest applying ‘PROMPT’, a structured tactic to critical evaluation of details (Provenance, Relevance, Objectivity, Method, Presentation, Timeliness). Provenance
    The provenance of the piece of content (i.e. who produced it? Where did it come from?) may give a useful clue to its reliability. It represents the ‘credentials’ of the piece of facts that service its status and perceived value. It is, therefore, very important to be able to identify the author, sponsoring body or source of your advice.
    Factors to consider about authors:
    Are they acknowledged experts inside the subject area?
    Are they respected and reliable resources
    Are their views controversial?
    Have they been frequently cited by other authors during the area
    To get hold of out whether material has actually been frequently cited requires either prior knowledge or a citation search.
    Are they known to have a particular perspective about the topic?
    Factors to consider about sponsoring organisations:
    What type of organisation is it? Commercial supplier, voluntary organisation, statutory body, research organisation?
    How perfectly established is the organisation?
    Does the organisation have any vested interests within the subject area being researched?
    Factors to consider about the method of publication:
    Any individual can publish anything over the world broad net or post to the discussion list. This has to be judged on its possess merit and with reference to the author’s credentials.
    What do you know in the editor and/or the editorial board and how their editorial policy influences what will be published?
    Is the journal nicely regarded? Does it have a huge rating within the Journal Citation Reports? Does this matter?
    Is the advice peer reviewed? A wide selection of electronic journals do not have a peer examination plan.
    The provenance of the piece of data is simply not a direct clue to its superior. You can find something called the ‘stable theory’, which suggests that academic deliver the results is often valued highly just basically because it emanates from the prestigious research group or is published within a prestigious journal. So we should judge facts on its have merits. However, provenance are generally an indirect clue to the reliability of info – a safety net that gives you the opportunity to check things out. Provenance can affect other people’s confidence during the resources you may be citing.
    Relevance is surely an important aspect of specifics top notch. It will not be a property with the advice itself, but rather of its relationship to the will need you have identified. It may be a piece of superior premium important information but not relevant to the question you will be asking or the scope of your search. There are lots of ways in which the tips may or may not be relevant to your needs.
    Geographical (it may relate to countries or areas which you could be not interested in).
    Stage (it may be too detailed/specialised or too general/simple with the degree at which you could be working).
    Emphasis (it may not contain the kind of content you’re seeking – this is often a question of emphasis, which may not be identifiable from the abstract).
    A tip for determining relevance is to
    be clear about your demands – this will help you to definitely be ruthless in discarding things for the basis of relevance.
    try to avoid having to browse things in total – glimpse on the title, abstract or summary, keywords and descriptors. Those that are evaluating a sizable body of material, learn to skim learn and/or scan advice to get a quick indication of what it is about. For a whole lot more details on reading techniques see the Effective reading website from Deakin University.
    consider research in context. Do the research benefits grant a unique insight into an aspect of your subject? Do they confirm or refute the findings of other researchers?
    In an ideal world, ‘objective’ or ‘balanced’ information and facts would current all the evidence and all the arguments, and leave you to definitely weigh this up and draw conclusions. Inside of the real world, however, we recognise that all details is presented from the position of interest, although this may not necessarily be intentional. Objectivity, therefore, may be an unachievable ideal.
    This will mean that the onus is on you, the reader, to build a critical awareness on the positions represented in what you read through, and to take account of this any time you interpret the tips. It is usually important to recognise that your possess belief units and opinions will influence your ability to be dispassionate and objectively evaluate help and advice.
    In some cases, authors may be explicitly expressing a particular viewpoint – this is perfectly valid so long as they are explicit about the perspective they represent. Hidden bias or errors of omission, whether or not it is deliberate, is often misleading. Consider the following:
    Perspectives: do the authors state clearly the viewpoint they are taking?
    Opinions: academic articles will often existing unsubstantiated theories for discussion. Glimpse out for opinion presented as if it have been fact.
    Language: are often a useful danger sign. Take a look out for language that may be either emotionally charged or vague.
    Sponsorship: whether commercial, political or personal. For example, academic research may be sponsored by industry or government. This does not necessarily make the research less aim even so it may make its interpretation selective. Make sure that all potential vested interests are clearly identified which the sponsors are happy to give obtain to the actual research details.
    When producing a literature analysis there exists a particular onus on you to definitely recognise any selective interpretation of information. You will require to comment on any significant omissions or biases that you just may encounter in other people’s findings.
    For this aspect of PROMPT we do not refer to the evaluation of research methods for each se, but to the details produced as a result of applying particular methods. With your knowledge belonging to the methods second hand inside of your subject area think about the following.
    Is it clear how the research was carried out?
    Have been the methods applicable?
    Ask some fundamental questions about sample size and nature, use of control groups, questionnaire create.
    Are the outcome produced consistent with the methods stated?
    Are the methods suitable in your needs? Do you would like the methods to be the same as yours or different to yours?
    Do not assume that basically because a research report have been accepted for publication, it is error-free and meets a certain standard. There have been cases of fraudulent research that have successfully fooled the research establishment and been published in large profile journals.
    The way in which related information is presented has a profound effect in the way we acquire and perceive it. There are the majority of aspects of presentation, any of which, if badly applied, can set up a barrier in between the message also, the audience.
    For example:
    choice of colour
    choice of font type and size
    use of diagrams and illustrations or photos
    lack of or illogical structure
    confusing layout
    poor use of language
    inappropriate or ineffectual producing style
    poor reproduction.
    Be aware that poor presentation and inappropriate or confusing use of language will hinder your ability to critically evaluate the academic content. Try not to let poor presentation stop you from utilising what could otherwise be perfect top notch, relevant knowledge.
    The date when data was produced or published could be an important aspect of level of quality. This is absolutely not pretty as easy to understand as saying that ‘good’ advice has to be up to date; it relies upon on your knowledge will need.
    Factors to consider include:
    Is it clear in the event the particulars was produced?
    Does the date from the information and facts meet my needs?
    Is it obsolete? (Has it been superseded?)
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