My latest column in the January 2007 TIP


Just noticed that the January 2007 issue of The Industrial Psychologist (TIP), the quarterly publication of the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology, is online, even though I haven’t gotten my print copy yet. As usual, my column on Good Science Good Practice is in there.

This was an interesting one to write. Most of it centers on a series of articles in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (JOOP) that ask if the journal should be more inclusive of less scientifically rigorous (and, let’s face it, less boring) articles so that it can serve a wider audience. Not everyone starts to dance from foot to foot in glee when presented with a giant table of statistics or a Methods section that takes days to read.

Of course, nobody was suggesting that JOOP should become, as I say in the column, “the I-O equivalent of People Magazine or Highlights.” But it’s still a sticky issue. How far do you bend to accommodate people without the advanced education or experience required to consume (and, perhaps more importantly, to make use of) traditionally erudite scientific research? At what point does such accommodation start to undermine the science and the mission of your publication?

Read the column for the full discussion.

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3 thoughts on “My latest column in the January 2007 TIP

  1. Dude, “Highlights” for I/O psychology would be PHAT!
    At any rate, I definitely think there is merit for simplifying in order to make a complex subject more accessible. Witness the many, many books on evolution, string theory, etc. that came out this year. People want to understand things they’re not equipped to. (It generally leads to over-metaphorification of the subject, but that’s a different discussion all together.)
    I don’t, however, think a scientific, peer-reviewed journal is the vehicle for it.

  2. I’m going to be completing my Bachelor’s in Psychology within the year. Are there opportunities for writers out there I just haven’t heard about? If I could combine my writing and my Psych degree….that would be almost heaven.

  3. Todd: Yep, I think that works with books or articles explaining already existing fields, theories, models, etc. I’ve hated the way almost every scholarly book in my field has been written and think we’re doing ourselves a disservice by adhering to that style.
    For original pieces of research that are exploring new areas or expanding existing ones, though, you’re kind of in a Catch 22. You have to be scholarly to make it repeatable and verifiable by other researchers (a very important aspect of science by definition), so that almost necessitates dry, academic prose. But there’s got to be some room for a compromise.
    viciousrumors: Depends on what kind of writing you’re talking about. If you go the academic route and want to be successful you’ll be doing plenty of technical, scholarly writing (you’ll also have to go to graduate school, though).

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