Laurie Taylor – 28 July 2016

The official weekly newsletter of the University of Poppleton. Finem respice!

July 28, 2016
Students pointing and laughing at teacher
Source: iStock
Not wanted on the experiment

Jam today

“I’m afraid that Professor Nick Butler, for all his expertise, has overlooked an important new development in academic journals.”

That was how Dr Mike Goshworthy, our university’s leading social psychologist, responded to the recent complaint by Professor Butler of Stockholm Business School that researchers’ “uncertainties” and “doubts” about their work were often “completely absent” from their published articles.

Dr Goshworthy said this strongly suggested that Professor Butler was unfamiliar with The Lower Poppleton Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, a publication that regularly featured seriously dubious findings.

In the July edition (Vol. 26, No. XXXIV), for example, Dr C. B. Unsworth of Uttoxeter Metropolitan University had frankly admitted that although his paper showing the link between a subscription to atheism and a liking for rice pudding and strawberry jam was, in terms of banality, very much in line with traditional social psychology experimentation, his positive results had been achieved only by ejecting 14 subjects from the sample for what he described as “gratuitous laughter”.

But there was more. Dr Unsworth also admitted that his results might have been “marginally contaminated” by “a kitchen malfunction” that meant that his atheist and non-atheist subjects were required to imagine themselves eating rice pudding and strawberry jam rather than engaging in its actual consumption.

However, said Dr Goshworthy, not one of these “doubts” had prevented Dr Unsworth’s article from being nominated for the research excellence framework and, following its selection as “Fact of the Week” on the God is Dead website, earning itself a “high impact” rating.

A spokesperson for Poppleton’s REF Strategy, who requested anonymity, admitted to some reservations about Dr Unsworth’s readiness to admit to such a degree of uncertainty.

“Once we allow academics to admit to any sort of doubt,” he asserted, “there is no going back. Before you can say Justine Greening, they will begin to doubt such other well-established aspects of contemporary university life such as excessive marketisation, rampant managerialism and the obscene size of our vice-chancellor’s emolument. Frankly, that way anarchy lies.”

Hello, good evening and welcome!

Members of academic staff who read the recent Times Higher Education article in which Fern Riddell of King’s College London stressed the importance of academics engaging with the media will be delighted to learn that our university has hired a Media Training consultant.

Doreen Dibling, who enjoyed a long media career in local weather forecasting at Radio Porlock, Somerset’s leading AM station, has agreed to give six special seminars for all those who share Ms Riddell’s belief that working with the media is now not only a chance to earn 20 quid and impress one’s mother but also “an increasingly important civic duty”.

In the first of her seminars, Ms Dibling will concentrate on “common media errors”. These include the following “tips”:

1. Avoid saying “Good evening” at the conclusion of a BBC Radio 4 Today programme interview

2. Avoid attaching the phrase “going forward” to any aspect of contemporary life that is clearly “going backwards”

3. Avoid mispronouncing “Jeremy Hunt”

4. Avoid suggesting that there might be as many as three sides to the question

5. Avoid the use of inappropriate phrases such as:

More research is needed

It was all very different in the 14th century

But not in the North

It was not immediately clear that she was a hooker.

If you would like to enrol, please apply directly to Ms Dibling marking your application “Brian Cox”.

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