Williams people do research. That should come as no surprise. But, while that research by alumni and faculty is heralded as an important sign of the vitality of the school and its education, academic research is not necessarily the most…accessible thing. Not only is it often behind pay walls online, but it can be extremely esoteric or esoterically written or complex, even for a brilliant eph to follow (note: I’m not that brilliant eph. I’m just saying–even for the most brilliant of us brilliant people, some of this stuff is weird). However, even the most confusing or esoteric seeming research probably has some value or could spark some dialogue or interest. And hey, why not toot Williams’ research horn? (*paging Dick Swart’s photoshop* I need an image of the Williams “research horn)

God knows I barely can follow half of the research that comes out in my field (half?!? I’m being too kind to myself. 2/3rds of my field is almost unknowable if that particular subfield isn’t your speciality. Speaking of which, anyone want to explain a “transivity model of the tau statistic of a social network is? Bueller? Bueller?). Nonetheless, a lot of this research provides amazing insights into the banal and non-banal (exciting? complex?) aspects of our world. Weekly, from here on out, I will be doing my best on Thursdays to provide a quick summary of a paper written by a Williams professor or alumni in the social sciences (maybe occasionally venturing into the humanities. Natural sciences I dare not try to understand. Maybe someone is willing to trade off with me?), why it might be interesting to people, a polite critique perhaps or suggestion of what I’d love to see if I could control the research agenda of others (if only I could…everyone prove why the Pennsylvania Liquor Board is a waste and how to get rid of it! GO! DO IT!), etc. Ideally, I’ll be able to do so for articles or papers that are freely accessible and not behind pay-walls, but I don’t promise that. I also don’t promise to bring the funny. I will try.

If you are interested in helping out via either presenting (natural scientists?!? please?!?!) or have a recommendation for a paper or author I should do in future weeks, please just submit a comment. I’ll compile those and get back to you.

Right now, I’ve got one in mind that I’ve used in a paper of mine that *knock of wood* a journal accepts after 3 revisions from a current psychology professor. Ideally, I’ll be able to include a comment from the author about why they researched that topic and what they think of the paper as well. Speaking of which…let me email that professor now.

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