Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id PAA22186 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Thu, 3 May 2001 15:30:39 +0100 Message-ID: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3101745E4B@inchna.stir.ac.uk> From: Vincent Campbell <email@example.com> To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" <email@example.com> Subject: RE: Selection of scientific theories - metascientific experiment Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 15:26:53 +0100 X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2650.21) Content-Type: text/plain Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
I think you raise interesting questions here, but I'm not so sure of the
ethics of your proposed tests of your hypotheses, particularly trying to
trick publishers into either publishing joke articles, or into not
publishing "good" articles. What would that really show apart from the
gullibility of particular journal staff?
Doing some kind of bibliometric research on what is already out there, on
the other hand, is a different matter. Still, you'd need to have very clear
definitions of how you define non-falsifiable and falsifiable research, and
I think you presume too much in this regard.
How, for example, would you charaterise the content of articles in a journal
like 'Media, Culture & Society'? There are a number of different research
paradigms that operate in fields like sociology, cultural studies, and media
studies, and a journal like MCS, covers many of them. Some of these bear
the hallmarks of the concerns you're talking about, some categorically
If you stick to easy targets like Social Text, then you may demonstrate your
hypotheses, but what about those journals on the margins? Where would the
Journal of Memetics fit, for example?
BTW, holistic doesn't mean necessarily mean anything goes, it means that
social phenomena may often be produced by a number of contributory factors
that to all be taken into account to understand causal relationships-
nothing inherently problematic in that. There are those that reject
reductive approaches in the social sciences, but that's a slightly different
point. The two aren't automatically exclusive. Also, arguably-
<psychological appeal, politics, ideology, funding, tradition,
> prestige, and sophisticated terminology>
all of this can apply to the hard sciences also. To try and argue that
they're ok, and everyone else is problematic, and demonstrably so, seems
rather specious in fact.
If you want to get a sense of concerns within the social sciences about the
directions and validity of research agendas, then take a look at David
Miller & Greg Philo's book 'Market Killing' (2000). It's a book which
generally slates all that's wrong with social science/media studies
research, by social science/media researchers. See what you think- it may
fuel your research idea, and give you a clearer focus. (Incidentally, it
doesn't pull any punches, e.g. Film Studies in particular gets a hammering).
Of course, the fundamentally interesting point here, is that the methods you
are proposing are inherently social scientific ones (e.g. surveys and
interviews), and thus in a way will be subject to the same kinds of problems
that you want to interrogate.
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