Wednesday, February 13, 2013

BAM! WAP! KA-POW! Take THAT, poor research methodology!

Librarians Assemble! Carol Tilley, media literacy professor at the University of Illinois, looked at the archival data from a study done by Psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, and figured out that his own data didn't support the conclusions he presented to the U.S. Senate!

This was back in the ol' days when comic books didn't have a great reputation Wertham told the Senate that comics might contribute to increases in violence, drug use, and "sexual deviancy" (as he defined it). 

Enter our hero: Carol Tilley swoops in and uses her super-archivist powers to look at Wetham's original case study notes and finds that he often didn't have much if any data to support his dramatic conclusions. POW! Take that, bad science!

Psychology teachers could use this as a compelling example of the importance of responsible data use by psychologists, and that research should be re-examined and continually peer-reviewed, especially when dealing with case study and other qualitative research that might be easily misrepresented. 

Look! Up in the sky! It's a librarian! It's a critical thinker! It's super-heroine Carol Tilley! 

image credit:
posted by Rob McEntarffer


Dexter Morgan said...
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Rob McEntarffer said...

Update! Wertham's "research" is described in a wonderful novel by Michal Chabon "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier&Clay" - it's a GREAT book!