Vital Research and the Quest for Knowledge

In higher education, there is a saying “publish or perish. The name of the game is to conduct original research and document the results. Discussion of apples falling from trees, earth revolving around the sun or vice versa, monkeys as second cousins and E=MC squared have all been taken. This means that the prospective scholar may have to trip further afield to find a subject worthy of research, that hasn’t already been done. Academic-absurdity-of-the-week-getting-squirrelly

It is not enough to be published, letters to the editor, the Playboy Advisor, Reader’s Digest and the Saturday Evening Post don’t cut it. When the eggheads mean published they mean a juried article for a publication that nobody has ever heard of, much less read. The next step is to submit an “Abstract” for the consideration by the “jury.” The jury is made up of professors who need to pad their resume to make it look like they are doing something to earn their outrageous salaries. The abstract proposes a theory, a methodology for proving or disproving the theory, the manner in which the results will be measured and then a conclusion reporting the conclusions reached.

There are two situations that will lead to a research project being deemed acceptable: (A) there is only one abstract submitted or (B) the jury concludes, I want to know more about this! B must be considered in the abstract since it has never occurred.

Once the “Abstract” is accepted the erstwhile researcher begins the task of research, observing, accumulating data, analyzing the result and reporting. The tentative final product is submitted for review and correction and after an exhaustive review by Adobe, keyword search to make sure all the buzzwords are present the juried article is returned for correction and final submission.

The article is published in the Journal of (that nobody has ever heard of) and the production run, twelve copies are sent out. Five copies go to the members of the jury, one copy goes to the author, five copies go to subscribers, each of whom is long dead, but still on the subscription list. The final copy is sent to the college library, to document the great strides in research taking place at the institution.

Word of the research leaks out when the editor of the college paper discovers that he needs two column inches to fill in the gap between advertisements for tampons and toilet paper. The resultant article, written by a frustrated sports writer is picked up by the AP wire so that other editors that need to fill gaps will have something to use.

In newspapers across the country, the thirst for knowledge is in unceasing. I kinda like the research topic; what I get from it is the author believes feminism and squirrels have a lot in common.