The University Record, November 6, 1995

Research Club wants to introduce faculty, grad students to work being done in social sciences

By Jared Blank

Political Science Prof. J. David Singer is a man with a mission.

The president of the Research Club wants to use the 70-year-old organization as a vehicle for introducing faculty and graduate students to the best work that is being done in the social science community. The group meets monthly to discuss current issues facing researchers.

"I've been appalled at the ignorance of faculty regarding what social science faculty do," opines Singer. "Though I'll admit that this is partially the fault of social scientists themselves."

Singer has written extensively on the reasons that he believes social scientists have not succeeded in informing other faculty of the scientific nature of their research. He lists three recurring problems:

Social scientists often do not introduce scientific method into their undergraduate classes. He believes social science faculty tend to present final results to undergraduates, without discussing the scientific methodology behind a study.

He sees a death of well-written journal articles from social scientists. "The research itself is often better than the articles about the research," he says.

Social scientists avoid talking about social science findings when talking about social science policy.

Singer also hopes to attract younger faculty to Research Club talks. "I want young faculty to pay attention to research from across the units. I hope to show all faculty that social science is just as rigorous and just as relevant as the natural sciences."

The club has lined up speakers who will present an array of social science research from a diverse selection of disciplines.

At 4-5:30 p.m. Nov. 13 in the West Conference Room, Rackham Building, Richard Lempert, professor of law and of sociology, will present "Cultural Discrimination in Housing Evictions: Qualitative Qualifications of a Quantitative Model."

Daniel E. Moerman, U-M-Dearborn professor of anthropology, will present "Cancer, Contraception and Other Native American Cures: How Did They Figure it Out?" at 4-5:30 p.m. Dec. 13 in the same room.

In January, John Vasquez, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, will speak on the impact of formal alliances on international warfare. Time and room will be announced.

All faculty and graduate students may join the 400 members of the Research Club by calling Cecil Nesbitt at 764-7227.