June 10, 2008

WTF, or My Take on Pop Sci

I had an appointment with my supervisor today. Someone who has no idea about the research I'm writing about and a way too strong attraction to lay person-like vague statements, like "Oh, they Germans are so punctual, it's just in their mentality to love order and neatness".

Virtually all the literature I am using I found myself; to be fair, she did recommend a book to me once. She said it would suffice for the theoretical part...

Now the papers I have found, based on sound qualitative and quantitative methods with straightforward statistical measurements and conclusions, - now she basically wants me to give it all up. Well, don't give the details of the experiments - just include the results.

But isn't it the methods, the nuances in the set-up what research is pretty much all about?

No, this way it looks like pop sci, she said. It is not the proper scholarly way to write.

I am failing to see how providing details about the studies one is citing makes the paper less scholarly. For me it's just the other way round: it's not the details but lack thereof which turns a paper into endless looping philosophizing.

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