When story-telling is censorship: How independent is your research?

“Into the woods you have to grope, but that’s the way you learn to cope. “Into the woods to find there’s hope of getting through the journey.” So sing the Baker, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack (of the beanstalk fame) in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Sondheim himself was caught up in a…

Conference utility-maximisation

This next slide shows the two research questions I sought to answer in my PhD. Students scored on average 4.26, which is between 4 and 5. What’s really interesting about this chart is that… I have copies of the full report here if anyone would like one. No? Please take one! I don’t want to…

I am not a role model

“I am not a role model. I am not paid to be a role model… Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids,” said Charles Barkley in 1993 when advertising a brand of sportswear. Unfortunately, Barkley could do nothing to stop the legion of kiddywinkles who wanted emulate his particular…

Efficiency

Lionel Messi is one of the best footballer players ever. He’s an outlier in the number of goals he has scored (a record 91 in 2012), the rate at which he scores (1.35 goals per game for Barcelona in 2011-2012, which is a lot), and the number of times he has been voted the best…

When independence and ideology try to pass in the corridor

What happens when my independent analysis indicates that your independence creates a sub-optimal state of affairs? Depending on how your research is commissioned, results and recommendations could be suppressed  if they fail to match a particular doctrine. This is the next chapter in that story: One side proclaims your results are fundamental truth because they…

The magical realism of mixed methods

The Big-Endians would have everyone break their boiled egg at the larger end. The Little-Endians would have everyone break their boiled egg at the smaller end. Tweedledum said Tweedledee had spoiled his nice new rattle. There are people whose identity is closely entwined with whether they are a Quant Person or a Qual Person. They…