Sunday, April 22, 2007

Flip your lid

Who says scientists don't have a sense of humor?

Some of the problems are so pervasive in research that one can almost always be sure to point them out. For example, when a student comes into my office to discuss a study, I usually start the conversation by rubbing my fingers through my toupee and shaking my head back and forth as if I were saying "no" to convey signs of deep frustration and despair. I usually have my student's riveted attention (not counting the time my toupee fell to the floor). Then, before he or she speaks, I begin the back-and-forth head shaking; continue that for at least two seconds of silence; and then say, "Oh- no, no, no- your sample is much too small." (I have been wrong on a few occasions, such as the time the student entered my office merely to ask where the bathroom was.)

Kazdin, A. E. (2004). Methodology: What it is and why it is so important. In A. E. Kazdin (Ed.), Methodological Issues & Strategies in Clinical Research, Third Edition (pp. 5-22). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association

Update: Kazdin is the American Psychological Association's President for 2008, minus toupee.

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