La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

I've spent the last few days at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting. So, I haven't watched or listened to the news lately.

But, I have listened to lots of political science presentations and commentary on papers. What I've learned is this....additional control variables or pet explanatory variables are like, well, you-know-the-saying, and everyone has one. Nearly every discussant or commentator from the audience has some useful suggestion for some poor paper presenter like:
"I understand that you are trying to explain the breakdown of coalition governments in Europe in the 1990s, but have ever considered including the per capita coffee consumption as a predictor of coalition breakdowns? I find that it makes my colleagues and I consume different amount of coffee and it tends to make some of us more cranky than others--really quite terrible in faculty meetings [irritating chuckle and nod to the guy in a cheap suit and comfortable shoes sitting next to him]. Maybe you should include coffee consumption in your analysis to see if it has an effect."

Luckily, the discussant for my paper had more useful things to say.

And, hopefully tomorrow, I will pass along the favor to others. We'll see how that goes.

posted by Michelle @ 12:45 PM,


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