“I was quite upset following the last US presidential election, especially at how all media had become labeled as ‘fake news.’ The message was that nobody can believe anybody anymore, everything is just a matter of opinion, facts and evidence don't matter. This is the message that was being shared. I felt that the whole point of academic research was being called into question. If everything is just a matter of opinion, why are we wasting so much effort trying to come up with well-reasoned, well-supported arguments in our academic papers?
It was so hard to get motivated to do any research anymore, because our whole epistemology as a society was being threatened. It took me months to get back to doing any research because it was so hard to motivate myself.
I found it very helpful to talk to other researchers who understood the importance of continuing to try to set the record straight with well-founded research. Many were able to articulate really clearly why their research mattered. And through those conversations I realized that these are the kinds of professors who need to be heard from somehow. And it was by connecting to my colleagues that I realized there are so many fascinating, amazing researchers out there.
That was kind of how the podcast came about. And I realized that it wouldn't succeed unless it was a global podcast, talking to professors from all over the world.
I go into these episodes as someone who's a trained academic but not an expert in their field. I read their paper carefully and ask them questions about how they structured the paper, and how they conducted this study. It gets at the challenges that a professor faces when they're trying to do research. I also explore the use of theory. Like, what is the role of theory and how do they go about gathering the data and then theorizing it?
Today, it's not enough to simply do research and publish it in academic journal. Professors must show why their research matters and the impact it has. So, the podcast features researchers who already have an active public voice, whether it’s on Twitter, in policy-making circles, or right in the local community. I find these professors are really comfortable talking about why their research matters.”
Professor of Accounting
Schulich School of Business
Host/Creator of Podcast or Perish
Podcast or Perish gives people an insider’s view on academic research. The podcast will launch on September 9th and new episodes will be shared every second week. They will feature professors studying ecology, economics, botany, marine biology, concussions, accounting and everything in between.
Future guests include:
- Celia Haig-Brown (York University) on Indigenous education and the residential school system
- Heidi Matthews (York University) on international criminal law and genocide
- Michelle Larue (University of Canterbury) on penguins, seals, and Antarctic ecosystems
- Kevin Milligan (University of British Columbia) on longevity and economic policy
- Dawn Bazely (York University) on what plants in the Arctic tell us about climate change
- Victoria Metcalf (National Coordinator, Participatory Science Platform, New Zealand) on enetics, marine biology, and participatory science
- Lauren Sergio (York University) on concussions in sports
- Christine Cooper (University of Edinburgh) on accounting, accountability, and neoliberalism
- Debra Pepler (York University) on bullying in schools
- Markus Milne (University of Canterbury) on corporate environmental accountability
- Ellen Bialystok (York University) on bilingualism and brain development
- Jean-Francois Mercure (University of Exeter) and Hector Pollitt (Cambridge Econometrics) on the economics of innovation
- Jen Gilbert (York University) on sexuality, gender, and queer issues in education
- Marie-Soleil Tremblay (ENAP) on public sector budgets and accountability (FYI, ENAP is the public administration school in Quebec)