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Caveat Emptor

The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Possibly useful methods site

By chance I came across the Methodspace website which might be useful to know about (assuming you don't know about it already). I've only briefly looked at it and will be interested to hear informed opinion about its utility. Two caveats. Firstly you have to scroll to the bottom of the page to find out that it appears to be sponsored by Sage. Nothing intrinsically wrong with that, they produce some useful books, but on the whole I prefer not to link to commercial sites and you will find quite a lot of plugging of Sage content. Secondly my very brief look at the site content suggested to me that surrounding the more serious questions and discussions there is quite a lot of artlessly disguised "can you help me with my methods 101 homework" type of fishing. Still I keep an open mind and if I  hear a lot of positive feedback I'll add it to my blog list (and if not I won't).

Incidentally my own attempt a few years ago to create a very crude version of this sort of thing in the department  was a complete and utter failure. I was always hearing from students that they were frustrated by lack of easy access to all the methods expertise (or enthusiasm)  that is widely diffused amongst us. So I set up a mail list to which any member could send  out quantitative  methods questions that were troubling them in the hope that somebody in the community could give them some advice.

The problem was not in recruiting members - plenty signed up. The problem was in soliciting questions. Literally not a single question was ever submitted. I saw no evidence to suggest that the need for advice disappeared, it just seemed to be that when push came to shove nobody was brave enough to admit in public that there was something they didn't know or couldn't figure out.

And they say education is a dialogue...

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