Real Scholarship

March 22nd, 2010

This is Matt here again.

So, I recently had a research question I’d like to share with you.  One of our excellent faculty had found a story in a blog online.  Apparently Sarnia, a town in Canada, is experiencing an abnormal shift in birth rates – today, there are two girls born for every boy.  It started changing in 1993, and there is no evidence that it’s going to stop.  It’s a part of Canada rife with industrial pollution, and the shift is blamed on contaminants.

babies blog picture

So that alone is interesting.  But the part that impressed me was not so much the question as the questioner.  Our faculty are thoughtful people, and don’t accept as true everything they read on the internet.  This professor wanted to find hard scholarship to back up the claims in the blog.  The story mentioned a research study done at the University of Ottawa, but didn’t cite it.  Together, we tracked it down – a 2005 article from the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

That’s a good model for scholarship.  Questioning, thinking, searching… our faculty don’t take things at face value, and nor should we.  We should think critically, for ourselves, evaluating everything that we read.