I often have doubts about..
9th April 2010

I often have doubts about the value and worth of what currently passes for academic research these days.  The following example from the ACER speaks for itself.

 ACER Media Release: Kids who walk are on track to better health
Children who walk to school are more physically active in their day-to-day activities around their neighbourhood than those children who are driven to school, a new study finds.

The study, undertaken for VicHealth by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), also suggests that children who walk to school are significantly more connected with their local community.


Responses to this Post

The point re the pointlessness of much that poses as academic research is frighteningly correct.Newspapers repetitiously disclose findings of 'studies' which are fatuous to the point of sheer absurdity, and the appearance is that we are supposed to take the silly findings' seriously, when often, the matter is no more intellectually enlightening than, say, a discovery that, if shoe laces are securely tied the shoes are less likely to fall off.  Lewis Carroll wrote that, 'if you drink much from a bottle marked "poison", it is sure to disagree with you' - and he thought he was being funny!  Could it be that someone is putting 'Stupid Powder' in our drinking water?

Bruce Manning says:

Since submitting my blog, of 14/04, in response to Kevin Donnelly's comment on the passing of standards in academic research, it has occurred to me that I ought to have included two further items in the blog. The one is the recently reported morsel from the U.K. announcing that a 'team of researchers' at Leicester University have discovered that those who get up during the night to go to the bathroom are more susceptible to cancer than those who do not expose themselves to the light during the dark hours!

The second, also from the U.K. should be required reading for all Vice Chancellors. In a 'Letter to the Editor' of 'Quadrant' December, 2004 Issue, Kenneth Minogue, London, quotes from Michael Oakeshott's 'The Study of "Politics" in a University': '[...] a university is an association of persons, locally situated, engaged in caring for and attending to the whole intellectual capital which composes a civilisation. It is concerned not merely to keep an intellectual inheritance intact, but to be continuously recovering what has been lost, restoring what has been neglected, collecting together what has been dissipated, repairing what has been corrupted, reconsidering, reshaping, reorganising, making more intelligible, reissuing and reinvesting. In principle, it works undistracted by practical concerns; its current directions of interest are not determined by any but academic considerations; the interest it earns is all invested!'

Some outstanding work is coming out of scientific endeavour, particularly (and for example) in medicine.  But the Humanities and their values are the natural home for initiatives in university administration, and it is the dumbing-down of imaginative thinking among administrators which is hastening the general malaise.
Bruce Manning, Queensland.

Bruce Manning, Queensland



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9th April 2010

I often have doubts about the value and worth of what currently passes for academic research these days.  The following example from the ACER speaks for itself. ACER Media Release: Kids wh...
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