As I thought ahead to the research journey that you will all start this fall, I asked some of our best scholar-teachers about readings that they might recommend for the summer. These readings are not about to any specific issue or research topic. Instead, they are all readings designed to stimulate your sense of curiosity and exploration, and to start you thinking about how we “know” things about the world. Thinking about, and reflecting on, these questions are essential to being a good researcher, so there is no time like the present to get started!
Suggestions from Dean Jackson
These two short texts both push us to go beyond our preconceived notions about research and the social world–and make us rethink what we can know and how we can know it.
- Andrew Abbot, Methods of Discovery, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2004.
- Ian Hacking, The Social Construction of What? Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001.
Suggestions from Dr. Shinko (SIS Undergraduate Program Director)
Both of these readings open us up to different (and probably unexpected) ways of seeing, researching, and understanding the world. Allow yourself to be challenged a bit in reading these excellent articles!
- Anne McCrary Sullivan, “Voices Inside Schools–Notes from a Marine Biologists Daughter: On the Art and Science of Attention,” Harvard Educational Review 70, no. 2 (Summer 2000): 211-227.
- John Rajchman, “Rajchman, Foucault’s Art of Seeing,” October 44 (Spring 1988): 88-117.
Suggestions from Dr. Field
We will explore questions of ethics and knowledge in SIU-206 and then in even more depth with Prof. Field in SISU-306. Here are a few readings to get you thinking about the deeper ethical and philosophical questions associated with being part of the social world that we also research and seek to understand.
- Dan Ariely, “How Equal Do We Want the World to Be? You’d Be Surprised,” Ted Talk (online), April 8, 2015, accessed July 6, 2015.
- Justin P. McBrayer, “Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts,” New York Times (online), March 2, 2015, accessed July 6, 2015.
- Slavoj Žižek, “Why ‘Political Correctness’ Gets In Its Own Way,” Big Think (online), accessed July 6, 2015.
Suggestions from Dr. Boesenecker
Here are some lighter, but important, pieces that all have something to say about the process of scientific inquiry, the tools we use to know the world, and the (often flawed) assumptions we have about data and tools for research.
- Zeynep Tufekci, “Learning from @NateSilver538’s OMG-Wrong #Bra vs. #Ger Prediction,” medium.com (online), July 9, 2014, accessed 3 August 2015.
- Joel Achenbach, “Big Bang Backlash: BICEP2 Discovery of Gravity Waves Questioned by Cosmologists,” Washington Post (online), May 16, 2004, accessed 3 August 2015.
- Spurious Statistical Correlations, tylervigen.com (online), accessed 3 August 2015.
Take a moment to read through a few of these and then share your thoughts here! This is an excellent way to re-engage your brain and start to get ready for the coming semester. Feel free to post a reply to this posting, or to post your own original post with your thoughts to the Class Site here (remember to click “Class,” “SISOlson,” and “SISOlson15” in the Categories menu if you write an original post). I look forward to hearing your thoughts and observations!